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49ers rookies get off to solid start in Week 1 vs. Vikings

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How did the rookies do against the Minnesota Vikings? Well we have a lot of good from the youngsters.

The San Francisco 49ers are a young team. While it’s no excuse for the mistakes made against the Minnesota Vikings, their youth certainly showed in their loss. Some penalties, dropped passes, and other metal errors kept what should have been a game the 49ers could have won, into a close loss. Let’s look at some of the big players.

WR Dante Pettis

Pettis had some bonehead moments. Muffing a punt comes to mind. Thank goodness it didn’t result in a turnover. Pettis also had the only touchdown of the day, a beautiful catch thrown by Jimmy Garoppolo in the third quarter. Pettis also had another chance at a touchdown earlier in the game, but a nice defensive play kept that from happening. At first it looked like an inexcusable drop, but the arm of the Vikings defender was almost like a log blocking any attempt at Pettis hauling it in. Pettis’ route running ability was on full display and his improvisation helped in the successful touchdown catch.

OT (OG!) Mike McGlinchey

The 49ers tackle doesn’t have anything major that comes to mind when we’re a few hours removed from the game. That suggests McGlinchey got off to a good start. The more interesting story with McGlinchey was how he was used to get the 49ers out of Minnesota. Mike Person went down with an injury and Joshua Garnett followed. That left a vacant guard position. The 49ers elected to move McGlinchey to guard and put Garry Gilliam in at right tackle. As you might expect, the offense elected to move things to Joe Staley’s side for the rest of the game, but it wasn’t pretty.

As for McGlinchey playing guard? It was a first. Not for his NFL career, but ever. According to Matt Barrows, it’s the first time he (McGlinchey) played the position.

LB Fred Warner

We saved the best for last. Fred Warner has made the decision regarding starting linebackers much more difficult when Reuben Foster and Malcolm Smith become available. Warner led the team in tackles with 12 (11 solo), one pass defended, and also had a forced fumble (recovered by Richard Sherman if you’re curious) which we have right here:

Warner was impressive for his rookie sample size, and already has us looking to possible chaos available once Reuben Foster comes off suspension. Once the 49ers get Foster back, they may have their starting linebackers figured out. The problem is depth — Brock Coyle has entered the concussion protocol and Malcolm Smith is fighting another injury.

If Warner can build on this performance, he could be something special. We’ll have a more thorough film breakdown later today.

The rest

Defensive back D.J. Reed and cornerback Tarvarius Moore both got special teams snaps, but no defensive snaps. Reed played 14 snaps, while Moore had 22 snaps, tied with Mark Nzeocha for most special teams snaps on the team. Wide receiver Richie James and defensive tackle Jullian Taylor were both inactive.