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Instant analysis of 49ers' 34-26 win over Vikings: Mitchell, Samuel key 208-yard ground assault

Cam Inman, The Mercury News on

Published in Football

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The 49ers’ win streak swelled to three games Sunday, but this was far from a runaway victory over fellow NFC playoff hopeful Minnesota.

Well, unless you literally factor in the running prowess of rookie Elijah Mitchell and versatile catalyst Deebo Samuel.

The 49ers emerged with a 34-26 win thanks to a scoring outburst midway through and only after a barrage of injuries took out star players.

Samuel bowed out in the second half with a groin injury, and he said he’s “not too concerned” ahead of an upcoming MRI. For the 49ers (6-5), his status is of great interest because of how valuable Samuel’s been to this season’s revival.

“We have no idea what it’s going to be like. I don’t think it’s as bad as you worry,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We’re hoping it’s a low strain. He feels that it might be.”

Exiting earlier were linebackers Fred Warner (hamstring) and Dre Greenlaw (groin), plus backup running back Trey Sermon (ankle).

 

The Vikings (5-6) lost key players of their own, including running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring). Their thin defensive line already had lost Everson Griffin (non-football illness) and Dalvin Tomlinson (COVID reserve) last week.

The 49ers’ ability to run the football, either with a play-making powerhouse in Samuel or an underrated rookie in Mitchell, has them in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt. This game’s result saw the 49ers and Vikings swap places in the NFC’s Nos. 6 and 7 playoff spots, behind the Los Angeles Rams at No. 5 in the NFC wild-card race.

“We’re all excited to be back in the mix and have a season in our control,” Nick Bosa said. “We always knew that we were a really good team and just had to execute better. Now we’re executing at the right times.”

Still, this time Sunday “was really stressful,” tight end George Kittle said.

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