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The Quick Slant: Notes & Observations from 49ers vs. Vikings

Think fast! My brief notes and observations from the 49ers' Preseason Week 3 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Thearon W. Henderson

We're back with another round of quick thoughts and observations for the 49ers 34-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

  • Eric Reid makes his first preseason start with the first-team defense and shows a bit of his speed by running beside Greg Jennings, stride for stride, on the first offensive play by the Vikings.
  • I gushed about inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite performance last week against the Chiefs, and he continues his impressive preseason run tonight.
  • The first-team defense looks to be in midseason form as they didn't allow a first down in three Viking possessions. Minnesota's first possession was halted when Ahmad Brooks got by right tackle Phil Loadholt to swipe the ball out of Christian Ponder's hand.
  • Chad Hall (Not "Chad Hill", Al) involved on an intriguing wide receiver pitch/end-around. Definitely something new.

  • Justin Smith gets by left tackle Matt Kalil and absolutely blows up running back Toby Gerhart in the backfield for the third consecutive three-and-out for the Vikings.
  • Welcome back, Kendall Hunter! On his first carry since being reactivated, Hunter slices right through the middle of the line for a 15-yard gain. Throw Frank Gore, LaMichael James, and Anthony Dixon into the fold, and the Niners have some legitimate options in a crowded backfield.
  • Wide receiver Quinton Patton makes his preseason debut and did not disappoint. Patton looked very good, grabbing a reception for a first down and capping off the drive with a touchdown reception. He was all smiles on the sideline, showin' off the golden grills.
  • I haven't written much about Marlon Moore, but he's making a strong case for a roster spot. Behind Boldin, Moore might be the most consistent receiver on the team.

  • It's difficult to assess a defensive back's coverage ability on a television broadcast since they don't show the backfield most of the time, but one thing remains certain of Eric Reid: dude can lay the lumber.
  • Matt Kalil has been a little touchy all night. He drew two unnecessary roughness penalties. The first was a push-from-behind on Michael Wilhoite and then later, Kalil shoved NaVorro Bowman after the play was over.
  • It's probably the Vance McDonald fanboy in me, but fellow tight end Garrett Celek has seriously underwhelmed me this preseason. I see no reason why McDonald can't win the second tight end spot over Celek. McDonald makes his first reception of the game at the beginning of the third quarter and hurdles over a diving defender to draw the Oooooooh's from the crowd.
  • California-native and former Golden Bear Lavelle Hawkins has been quiet all preseason but made some noise in a big way. And then in a really embarrassing way. Hawkins was responsible for a blazing 105-yard kickoff return touchdown but drew "multiple unsportsmanlike conduct" penalties in the process. He taunted a defender in pursuit as he high-stepped into the endzone and then removed his helmet immediately after scoring. Harbaugh grabbed Hawkins almost immediately and gave him a lecture on the sideline.

  • There were reports over the weekend claiming that backup quarterback Colt McCoy was being shopped around. However, once Colin Kaepernick made his exit, McCoy entered the game and remained in the game into the fourth quarter. And if anyone still believes anything Harbaugh says, McCoy seems to have earned back some confidence from the coaches.
  • I'm a big fan of Austin Collie, and I think he has great potential, but I literally cringe every time he makes a reception.
  • I can forgive Hawkins for the first unsportsmanlike conduct incident. Kind of. But even after the pep talk from Harbaugh, he manages to get another one. Not to sound like a buzzkill, but that's inexcusable. Hawkins isn't exactly in a position where he can afford to make such petty mistakes, and he's only hurting himself and his chances of making the roster.
  • Overall, I can't say I have much to complain about. It was a pretty well-rounded performance in every phase of the game. First-stringers like Kap won't be seeing much, if any, action in the final preseason game next week, but it will be the last opportunity for the bubble boys to make an impression on the coaches.

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