As the NFL season reaches its final stretch, the playoff picture continues to shift week after week. The San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings are two teams battling for the final Wild Card spots in the NFC.
This time around, the 49ers got the best of the Vikings in a back and forth battle, and one in which Minnesota watched star running back Dalvin Cook leave on a cart.
After the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was frustrated with the penalties, although George Kittle tossed some shade his way in light of the officiating.
Mike Zimmer visibly upset about the amount of penalty calls in the Vikings loss to the 49ers
Zimmer’s frustration boiled over after the 49ers walked away with a narrow 34-26 victory in Santa Clara. Yes, the Vikings made mistakes throughout the game, but Zimmer was irritated by the number of times his players were held (h/t Kevin Patra of NFL.com).
“These guys hold all the time, so they’re grabbing us around the waist, grabbing our backs. The officials, they don’t want to call it every play, but until they start calling every play, they’re not going to stop doing it.”Mike Zimmer after loss to 49ers
Zimmer seemed especially irked after wide receiver Deebo Samuel rattled off a couple of nice runs and got into the end zone twice.
Nonetheless, the Vikings had plenty of opportunities to score toward the end of the game and failed to do so.
George Kittle sends a stern message to Zimmer after the holding complaints
Zimmer’s comments didn’t take very long to get to the 49ers’ side of the building. After the game, Kittle responded to those comments and threw a jab toward Zimmer and the Vikings.
“It’s football, you know? Refs throw flags, refs don’t throw flags. It’s just the game. If you’re going to sit on the sideline and complain about holding the whole time, I’d tell your guys to make better plays.”George Kittle responds to Mike Zimmer’s holding calls
What a response from Kittle.
He has a point, too. The Vikings blew a lot of opportunities, including a bizarre blunder by Kirk Cousins in which he lined up under the guard and called a timeout.
Case and point from Kittle. Make better plays.
The 49ers victory puts them in perfect position to earn an NFC playoff spot
The NFC is an absolute madhouse at the moment. The three Wild Card spots are close, and the 49ers’ victory over the Vikings has them at the sixth seed.
The Vikings, even with the loss, hold on barely to the seventh seed. Right behind the Vikings are the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, both of which sit at 5-6.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers are 5-7 and right behind the others, so there are a lot of different possibilities. For now, the 49ers are in a perfect position to earn a Wild Card spot and are surprisingly one game behind the struggling Los Angeles Rams.
Kyle Shanahan’s team has rattled off three straight games and has the Seattle Seahawks up next. Don’t count out the 49ers, believe it or not.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference