The San Francisco 49ers will try to claim their second straight preseason victory of 2022 when they go on the road Saturday to face the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers, 28-21, in their exhibition opener at Levi’s Stadium. Trey Lance played the first quarter and looked sharp, going 4-for-5 for 92 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown throw to rookie wide receiver Danny Gray. Backup Nate Sudfeld also played well, completing 8-of-11 passes for a team-high 103 yards and a 39-yard touchdown to veteran Ray-Ray McCloud.
The Vikings fell 26-20 in their preseason opener in Las Vegas against the Raiders on Sunday. Sean Mannion started at quarterback for Minnesota, but it was 2021 third-round pick Kellen Mond who stole the show with a 9-for-14, 114-yard, and two-touchdown performance.
Here’s a look at the San Francisco vs. Minnesota best bets.
49ers vs Vikings Odds
The Vikings are laying an inordinate number of points for a preseason game, though San Francisco is reportedly unlikely to play any of its marquee players Saturday. Plus, Minnesota is expected to get starting quarterback Kirk Cousins back after a positive test for COVID-19 that kept him out of the game against the Raiders.
49ers vs Vikings Implied Score
Vikings 22.5, 49ers 17
The line has been moving further in Minnesota’s favor all week as more information comes out. These teams are competing in joint practices Wednesday and Thursday before the game Saturday, which is why the 49ers in particular are content to hold out their starters in the game.
49ers vs Vikings Pick of the Day
Read more on this 49ers vs Vikings bet below.
49ers vs Vikings Matchup
This game is a homecoming for Lance, the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft, who grew up about 150 miles southwest of the Twin Cities in Marshall, Minn. But Lance is reportedly expected to complete his work during the joint practices between the teams and will not dress Saturday, likely joining George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Elijah Mitchell, who all did not suit up against Green Bay.
Minnesota coach Kevin O’Connell has played coy with whether his starters will play, telling reporters that he wants to see how much work his stars get in the joint practices before determining who suits up Saturday. But Cousins is likely to see the field to get some game reps even if fellow starters Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson are unlikely to play Saturday.
49ers vs Vikings Prediction
Vikings 27, 49ers 24
Fans may be paying full freight to attend preseason games, but coaches prefer to keep their starters upright and healthy for when the games matter most. Plus, with reps in joint practices, like what Minnesota and San Francisco are participating in during the week, that doesn’t involve tackling or hitting, stars are still getting their work in against opposition without having to put their bodies on the line.
Minnesota’s backup quarterback position is a competition the organization is watching closely, which means Mannion and Mond should be expected to duke it out Saturday after Cousins exits — assuming Cousins plays at all. Mond is probably the favorite at the moment since Mannion is a highly-replaceable veteran, and if he can light it up against San Francisco, he’ll only grow that edge.
The 49ers put up points with backups last week and should be able to again, no matter if Sudfeld or rookie third-string quarterback Brock Purdy is leading the offense.
This should be a close, higher-scoring game, especially given the fact so many young, non-regulars will be playing on the defensive side of the ball.
49ers vs Vikings Bet Tips
The Vikings have lost five straight preseason games dating back to 2019. Their most recent exhibition win was a 20-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 24, 2019. The 49ers have not lost a road preseason game since Aug. 25, 2018, a span of three games. San Francisco has won three consecutive preseason games overall.
49ers vs Vikings Best Bets
49ers +5.5 (-110) Caesars Sportsbook
Preseason games are close. The average margin of victory in Week 1 of the exhibition slate was 6.2 points, and 12 of the 16 games were decided by seven points or fewer. Laying a touchdown in the preseason, where games are decided by guys who will be working desk jobs in a month, is lunacy.
Take the 49ers to at least stay within five points as our NFL pick of the day.
Over 39.5 Total Points (-110) Caesars Sportsbook
With Cousins likely to play, Minnesota should be able to put up points. Sudfeld, as well as Purdy, looked plenty comfortable in San Francisco’s preseason opener and should be able to keep the good offensive vibes going in Minnesota.