Jimmy Garoppolo has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL over the last couple weeks, bringing a needed element to the 49ers' offense.
However, Vikings defensive coordinator Andre Patterson still knows what makes San Francisco's offense go.
"They're really good running the football," Patterson said Wednesday to reporters.
Patterson also compared the 49ers' run game to the Cleveland Browns. The Niners don't have a star running back like Nick Chubb, but they have a variety of backs who can get the job done. Patterson also mentioned coach Kyle Shanahan's ability to confuse a defense with motion and shifts.
Then there's Deebo Samuel, the 49ers' star receiver who might as well be listed as a running back too.
"Yeah, he's a running back," Patterson said. "When he lines up back there, he's a running back. It's like [Cordarelle Patterson]. He reminds me a lot of Cordarelle.
"Cordarelle is comfortable playing running back. This guy is comfortable playing running back. ... He is a true running back. He runs with power and force. He has good vision, he's a running back."
The 49ers could again be without rookie Elijah Mitchell as he looks to return from a fractured finger and a ribs injury. Shanahan then would turn to Jeff Wilson Jr., rookie Trey Sermon and Samuel. While he has the second-most receiving yards in the NFL, Samuel also has 137 rushing yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns.
That's good for 7.2 yards per carry.
"They run a wide variety of different types of running plays," Patterson said. "There's no way we can practice them all in the course of a week. Their running backs run hard and physical, and their receivers do a great job of blocking. They're committed to it and they know what they're doing. I think that's what makes them different.
"There's been games where they've run the ball 12, 13 times in a row on a drive. If they get it going, they're gonna stick with the running game and I think they do a tremendous job with what they do."
If there's one thing Patterson knows, it's the film from the Vikings' playoff game against the 49ers in Jan. 2020 essentially is useless at this point.
"It's about who they have now and what they're doing now and who they're playing with now," Patterson said. "That's what we have to stop."