The last time the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings met was Week 3 of the 2009 season. If not for 11 penalties against the Colts last week, it might have been another matchup of two undefeated teams.
In that 2009 meeting, Brett Favre was the Vikings quarterback, and Mike Singletary was the 49ers head coach. In typical Favre fashion, he led the Vikings to a 27-24 win with a 32-yard touchdown pass with 0:02 left in the game.
It was a win that helped the Vikings finish 12-4, the second-best record in the NFC.
For San Francisco, it marked the start of a stretch during which it lost five of six games on the way to an 8-8 finish.
Since then, these two teams have been moving in different directions. Last year, under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers finished 13-3, a seven-game improvement over 2010.
Since 2009, the Vikings have finished in last place in the NFC North. Last year, as they fell to 3-13, the Vikes were challenging for the worst record in the league and the top draft pick.
And, against their third-straight NFC North opponent, the visiting 49ers are 6.5-point favorites.
The Vikings will need another miraculous effort to defeat San Francisco. Here are some key matchups that could affect the outcome of the game.