The last time the Minnesota Vikings played at Levi's Stadium, the 49ers dismantled them 27-10 in the NFC divisional playoff round on Jan. 11, 2020.
Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak, who has been with the organization since 2019 when he started as the quarterbacks coach, said that defeat still resonates with Minnesota's coaching staff ahead of Sunday's meeting with the 49ers in Santa Clara.
"Absolutely. We have a bad taste in our mouths from that game," Kubiak told reporters Wednesday. "It was two years ago, we've got a lot of new pieces, lot of similar pieces, but guys haven't forgot that, and every game is like the playoffs now, so we just got to have a great week of prep in order to go have a good game on Sunday."
The Vikings' offense struggled mightily in that playoff clash, as Dalvin Cook was Minnesota's leading rusher with just 18 yards on nine carries.
"Definitely remember that game, that environment," Cook told reporters Wednesday. "I was telling the running back group about that environment. I know it was a playoff game and it was different, but their fans get pretty rowdy, the atmosphere is real cool to play in, so it should be a great environment for us to go out and compete and show what we can do Sunday."
Kirk Cousins, whom Kyle Shanahan famously sought as a potential quarterback addition when he first took over as 49ers coach, finished with 172 passing yards and one touchdown, but he also had a throw intercepted by Richard Sherman.
Shanahan knows that while every NFL roster and coaching staff experiences turnover, there are a lot of the same personnel from that 49ers win in early 2020.
“Yeah, I believe so. [Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer] Zim has done what he's done for a long time, and so has our coaching staff, and I know we have a different defensive coordinator but still very similar style and very similar defense," Shanahan said this week. "So, schematically, I think it's very similar. And usually there's a lot of turnover in three years, but you go back and watch those games, and they're still some of the main guys, especially on their side of the ball, and you can see our guys, too.”
Cousins has been one of the least-turnover prone quarterbacks in the NFL this season, with an impressive 21:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. However, after forcing just two in the first five games before the Week 7 bye, the 49ers' defense has had seven takeaways over the past five games.
With both teams at 5-5, this is a pivotal game for playoff positioning, as the winner will sit in the NFC's No. 6 seed with six to play. So, while the game isn't in prime time, it has all the makings of a marquee NFL matchup.