Something to watch for in the upcoming game against the Vikings may be the play of Delanie Walker. With Vernon Davis scoring three touchdowns in just two games, it's fair to assume Minnesota will roll coverage his way often. In fact, Davis could be considered the 49ers only true deep threat thus-far, in terms of production.
For this reason many assume that Randy Moss or maybe even another wide receiver could have a big role Sunday. This may be true, but another guy to watch would be the tight end opposite Davis: Delanie Walker.
Walker has had a down year in the passing game thus far, granted it's a small sample size. He's been targeted four times and has two drops, according to Pro Football Focus. I thought that Walker had a chance to catch both passes in the season opener in Green Bay, even though one of them was sort of a jump ball thrown behind him.
Walker had a pretty good year last season, making some big catches. He might not have put up huge numbers, but he seemed to make the most of his opportunities. He's been praised for his blocking thus-far, something in which he was particularly weak to begin his career. Now he just needs to focus on hauling the ball in and running after the catch, something he has done well in the past.
He may get his chance against the Vikings Sunday. Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman could come up with a game plan to use lesser-known players more often, to catch the defense by surprise. If this happens, let's hope Walker comes to play and can produce when the team needs him.
More after the jump.
Walker is a free agent after this season, leading many to wonder if he'll be brought back or if the team will draft a TE to gradually take over for Vernon Davis down the road, and compliment him in the meantime. Davis is only 28, and signed through the 2015 season, but the 49ers have always loved using two tight ends on the field. In fact, it was long considered their true "base offense".
I always had high hopes for Walker. I even told some fans of other teams that I wouldn't be surprised to see him start for another team. He is short for a typical TE, but the aforementioned blocking and his speed could make him a decent fit on a team that doesn't throw a ton of passes to it's TE but looks to get him mismatched against a linebacker.
Walker is also a big contributor on special teams, which are key to the 49ers' success. Here's hoping that he can become a bigger factor in the offense when needed, perhaps starting Sunday against the Vikings.