The San Francisco 49ers appear to have a bit of good news heading into their Week 1 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said that linebacker Malcolm Smith will practice on Thursday and “everything looks good for game day.”
Smith has been dealing with a hamstring injury during the preseason. He injured it in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys, and returned for the third game against the Indianapolis Colts. He was limited in practice earlier in the week, and Wednesday’s first official practice participation report listed him as limited.
If he can play, that means Brock Coyle drops back into the primary backup role, along with special teams work. Reuben Foster is suspended the first two games, and the plan appears to be for Fred Warner to start at the MIKE linebacker spot, and Malcolm Smith to start at WILL.
Smith has yet to dress for a 49ers regular season game since signing his sizable contract a year and a half ago. The contract seemed a bit steep at the time, but at this point, he’s entirely a mystery other than the injury concerns. The 49ers face a Vikings rushing attack that welcomes back Dalvin Cook, but also has plenty to show in Latavius Murray. There will be plenty to watch as we look for answers while Foster is suspended.