In life, when you know what to expect, you can better prepare for all the possibilities, which is the case for the Minnesota Vikings.
In 2017, Minnesota went to the NFC title game, and a lot of players who made that run for the Vikings are still with the team. Conversely, for the 49ers, that is not the case. The last time San Francisco made the playoffs was 2013. On Saturday, their QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be making his playoff debut as a starter when the 49ers host Minnesota in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Regarding experience, you have to favor Minnesota, and while Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer thinks experience will help his team, it’s still about playing good football.
“I can’t speak for their team,” Zimmer said on Thursday. “I do feel like us being in the NFC Championship game two years ago, we can draw on some things through that course of that process that we had. One thing is the number of media that’s going to be out on the field before the game. As these games continue getting bigger, the distractions become bigger. I think we can draw on that. It’s still going out and playing good football.”
The stage does get much bigger as you move on in the playoffs, and whether the 49ers are equipped to handle the big stage, will be revealed on Saturday. It’s much easier to win in the regular season than it is in the playoffs, and because it’s win or go home, the stakes are much higher.
Beating two 13-win teams in consecutive weeks on the road is never easy, but that’s what the Vikings will have to do to if they want to move on. They have the experience, and they will need all of that and more to beat the Niners on Saturday.