The San Francisco 49ers didn’t look great running the football through the first two preseason games, but that changed against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Specifically, Carlos Hyde showed that he is fresh and ready to play, a concern given his lack of push in the first two outings.
Hyde rushed seven times for 19 yards against the Vikings, which isn’t going to blow anybody away, but he looked good with the ball in his hands. More importantly, Hyde caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, and didn’t have a drop.
Hyde is not a prototypical receiving running back, but with Kyle Shanahan taking over the offense, passes to running backs took on a significant prominence. Shanahan likes horizontal movement in his offenses, and running backs are considered a primary target for quarterbacks.
And given that Hyde is the starter, he’ll obviously see a lot of targets this coming season. Hyde was targeted just 33 times in 2016, catching 27 of them for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
Under Shanahan a year ago, the Atlanta Falcons threw to their top two backs — Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman — 105 times in the regular season. They had 462 and 461 yards, respectively, along with two and three touchdowns, respectively.
I don’t know if Hyde will see that many targets, especially with a solid receiving fullback in Kyle Juszczyk to take away some of those targets. But I like what I see from Hyde as a receiving option going forward.