The San Francisco 49ers sent their starters out for much of the first half against the Minnesota Vikings, but the so-called “dress rehearsal” preseason game actually saw quite a bit of rotation. Kyle Shanahan seemed to want to get some of his second team players some time with the first team, and it resulted in a lot of different lineup variations.
John Theus might prove to be one of the big preseason winners. When Joe Staley left the game with a knee injury, Theus was his replacement. Garry Gilliam entered camp competing with Trent Brown, and potentially looking at the swing tackle role otherwise. Gilliam could still be in the mix, but Theus would appear to have the edge for the swing tackle role.
Erik Magnuson also got extensive work, coming in initially as the second team center. Tim Barnes seemed to have beaten out Jeremy Zuttah for that role, but suddenly Magnuson is coming after a roster spot. He has gotten work at both center and guard, and he played right tackle last year in college. That kind of versatility could get him a roster spot.
On the defensive side of the ball, Lorenzo Jerome led in snaps, coming off the bench behind Jaquiski Tartt. He came in as the sixth defensive back when the 49ers went to their dime, and then replaced Tartt at free safety in the second half. I am not quite sure what any of this means given Jimmie Ward’s own status.
Aaron Lynch played in the second half and had a heck of a game, netting eight pressures, including one sack. Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, and Elvis Dumervil got the bulk of the edge time with the first team defense. Lynch has impressed in the preseason, but his specific role on the depth chart is still a little unclear.
Newcomer Sen’Derrick Marks got a lot of work in his first game, playing 21 snaps. The 49ers signed him last Wednesday to add some defensive line depth. He will likely get a ton of work this Thursday in the preseason finale.
Here’s the full snap count. You can check it out along with more information in the 49ers-Vikings gamebook PDF.
49ers preseason snap count vs. Vikings