(TSX / STATS) — Vikings No. 3 quarterback Taylor Heinicke scored the game-winning two-point conversion with no time remaining in a 32-31 Minnesota victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
San Francisco quarterback Brian Hoyer completed his first nine passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns as the 49ers jumped out to a 14-0 lead after two possessions, but he later stood on the sideline and watched as the Vikings won the game.
Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford completed 17 of 21 passes for 134 yards. However, he was sacked three times and couldn’t score while playing the first half against a team that gave up a league-worst 30 points per game last season.
The Vikings were outgained 148-19 in the first quarter.
When quarterback Case Keenum came in the game, though, the Vikings scored 17 third-quarter points on a 58-yard field goal by Marshall Koehn, a 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie Rodney Adams and a 108-yard kickoff return by Jerick McKinnon.
That may have given McKinnon the lead in the competition to replace three-time NFL kick return champ Cordarrelle Patterson.
Keenum finished 10 of 14 for 139 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The 49ers countered the Vikings’ third-quarter rise with two second-half touchdowns by Raheem Mostert. Late in the third quarter, the running back turned a screen pass from rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard into an 87-yard score. Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Mostert capped a 13-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Later, the Vikings made it a one-score game by adding a 16-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to tight end Kyle Carter.
Heinicke drove the Vikings to the 49ers’ 1-yard line with one second remaining. Terrell Newby ran it in from there to set up the game-deciding two-point conversion with no time remaining.
The 49ers (1-2) came into the game with reason to worry about their shaky quarterback position. But the 31-year-old Hoyer, who had a 49.3 preseason passer rating, shredded Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s vaunted defense.
Hoyer completed 12 of 17 passes for 176 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against a defense that ranked third in the league a year ago.
Taking advantage of busted coverages, Hoyer threw a 46-yard touchdown strike to Marquise Goodwin before threading a 24-yard TD pass over the middle to running back Carlos Hyde.
The Vikings (2-1) finally got their first look at the five players who will start on the offensive line. Left tackle Riley Reiff returned after missing the first two preseason games because of a back injury, while left guard Alex Boone returned after missing one game because of a knee injury.
However, the new-look line had an all-too-familiar look, as it allowed two sacks and let San Francisco’s defense knock down a pass.