Through two weeks of the 2009 season, only nine teams are undefeated. (That number could drop to eight tonight, when the 1-0 Colts face the 0-1 Dolphins.) In Week Three, only two of those teams will play each other: the 49ers and the Vikings.
It’s an unlikely early-season showdown. Though the Vikings were expected to beat the Browns and the Lions, few non-49ers fans could have predicted that San Fran would topple both the Cardinals and the Seahawks to start the season. (Then again, the PFT Picks had the Niners in both games.)
And Sunday’s game will have plenty of layers of intrigue, beyond the obvious “battle of unbeatens” story line.
It’s Brett Favre’s first regular-season visit to the Metrodome as a member of the home team. But it’s also the first visit to the Metrodome for quarterback Shaun Hill, who spent four years at the bottom of the Vikings’ depth chart. In a 2007 game against the Vikings in 2007, Hill showed in mop-up duty the potential that ultimately put him in the mix to compete for the starting job he now holds.
Also, 49ers coach Mike Singletary and Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier were teammates on the legendary ’85 Bears defense. And the Niners defensive coordinator, Greg Manusky, spent three years as a player on the Vikings in the early 1990s.
Then there’s the fact that the NFC’s two leading rushers — Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore — will be featured in the game.
So while the casual fan might regard 49ers-Vikings as just another early-season middle-of-the-pack matchup, the reality is that it could be the best game of the weekend.
Except for Colts-Cardinals. On NBC.