For Purdy and the 49ers, the pressure`s literally on vs. Flores’ blitz-wild Vikings

For Purdy and the 49ers, the pressure is really on for the wild Vikings by Flores
Minnesota Vikings quarterback DJ Wonnum (98) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields during the first half of the football game NFL, Sunday, October 15, 2023, in Chicago.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brock Purdy’s rapid rise with the San Francisco 49ers has the quality of a feel-good movie, the rare quarterback drafted in the seventh round to lead a contender to the Super Bowl at the end of his term. his rookie year and started his second season where he left off.

Even after the worst start of his young career, a 19-17 loss to Cleveland that included his first interception of 2023 and robbed the 49ers of their undefeated status ( 5-1), Purdy is still sitting pretty well. He probably won’t be able to stand still in his efforts to get back on track.
San Francisco plays at Minnesota Monday night and Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores is sure to empty the playbook with as many different pressures as he can find.

“You can never relax and just call a play or call a play,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said, “because there are always a thousand things that can go wrong just because of the threat of what They do it in any situation.” “They pursue you a lot because of that. They make you make mistakes that way.

The Vikings have sent five or more players rushing on 60.5% of the pass plays they’ve faced this season, the most of any NFL team since Sportradar began tracking them. lightning match in 2007. The next most frequent blitzing team was Arizona (51.1%) in 2013. The league average for 2023, according to Sportradar, is 29%.

The ultra-aggressive strategy, in an era when extra rushers are being used less often in favor of thicker and safer zone coverage, has yielded mixed results for the Vikings (2-4).

Flores had an 82% blitz rate on Sept. 24 against the Los Angeles Chargers, the highest in the NFL this year, and Justin Herbert went 40 for 47 for 405 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. But relentless pressure also led directly to both of Minnesota’s wins, at Carolina and Chicago.

The Vikings sent five or more rushers on 75.9% of passing plays against the Bears and totaled five sacks, three interceptions and a fumble recovery that Jordan Hicks returned for a touchdown in a 19-13 victory.

The Browns, who blitzed a modest 30% of the time against the 49ers, flustered Purdy into a 12-for-27 passing performance for 125 yards, one touchdown, the aforementioned interception and a career-worst 55.3 passer rating. That was his first loss in 11 regular-season starts.

Against the New York Giants on Sept. On February 21, Purdy faced 69.2% of his passes, according to Sportradar – the third-highest per-game rate in the league this season behind the Vikings. He spread that pressure, going 16-of-25 for 233 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants’ blitzing offense in a 30-12 victory.

“There’s a lot to prepare for,” Flores said. “Not just the skill of the players at the skill positions, but also the intelligence and offensive command that Purdy possesses. On top of that, you have Kyle sitting there, who has been doing this for a long time, who has literally seen with his own eyes every structure, every coverage concept, every flash. He has the answer to all of this.

DAVENPORT DOWN

Minnesota’s defense suffered a major loss against the Bears when outside linebacker Marcus Davenport suffered a sprained ankle that placed him on injured reserve, meaning he will miss at least four games fight. Danielle Hunter leads the league with eight sacks, but the Vikings don’t have much depth.

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