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How much will Quinton Dial play in the 49ers’ 3rd preseason game?

Dial is a starting-caliber player, but could he be on the trade block?

Quinton Dial is a very talented defensive lineman, but his spot in the San Francisco 49ers is a big question mark. Earl Mitchell was brought in this offseason, and he’s such a solid player it’s hard to rationalize bringing Dial on the field in lieu of him.

But Dial, who has started 32 games over the last three seasons, is an excellent run defender who is good at getting penetration. He can hold the inside with the best of them and it would be a shame for him to be relegated to a backup role.

This makes me question how much he’ll play in the teams third preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

On one hand, Dial is technically competing with Chris Jones for a backup spot and he’ll want to play as much as possible. On the other hand, there’s still a chance that the 49ers are trying to find a trade partner for Dial. If that’s the case, I have to wonder if Dial will be played at all.

The two schools of thought on this are pretty interesting. The 49ers could argue that Dial has shown enough over the past couple years to sway a trade partner, and playing him runs the risk of him getting injured. It would also take away valuable snaps from other players vying for a roster spot. Then of course, there are those who want him showcased.

Or, Dial isn’t on the trade block at all and he’s truly just battling Jones. Either way, if he finds his way onto the field early on Sunday, he’ll be the player I’m watching the most.