This is the third part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Vikings matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (FOX-TV), at Mall of American Field.
Matchup No. 3: Sopuaga vs. Sullivan
Matchup No. 2: Akers vs. Harvin
49ers LT Joe Staley vs. Packers DE Jared AllenTale of the tape
Staley (74): 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, sixth season, Central Michigan
Allen (69): 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, ninth season, IdahoPro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley played well for a good portion of the 49ers' season-opener against the Green Bay Packers. But three plays in which he surrendered 2.5 sacks to outside linebacker Clay Matthews ruined his day.Staley rebounded strong against the Detroit Lions, nearly pitching a perfect game against Detroit Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who had one tackle and no sacks in the 49ers' 27-19 victory Sunday night.Now, Staley faces perhaps the biggest challenge of his season. He'll be going against Minnesota Vikings right defensive end Jared Allen, a four-tie Pro Bowl selection who led the NFL last season with 22 sacks.Staley will likely contend with crowd noise inside the dome that could force the 49ers to go with a silent count. He'll also be facing one of the more well-polished pass-rushers in the game."It's going to be a great challenge going against him," Staley said. "He presents something a little bit different than Clay and the guys last week. He's a little bit more slippery and longer. He's more of a savvy guy. He's really not going to run straight down your throat."Allen, who finished his prep career at Los Gatos High, begins his fifth season with the Vikings after playing four years with the Kansas City Chiefs. Allen had 105 sacks in his eight NFL seasons. One of those came against Staley on the first head-to-head play they faced one another.Allen blasted around the outside on the Metrodome turf and swiped the ball away from quarterback Shaun Hill to begin the third game of the 2009 season. Staley recovered the fumble. He also recovered in the game to prevent any more sacks or quarterback hits against Allen.A strong Vikings pass rush coupled with a noisy environment inside the dome could pose the biggest threat to quarterback Alex Smith and the 49ers' offense on Sunday.