The 49ers had their first joint practice with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday morning, and a couple of loyal 49er fans were on hand to provide updates for us. Arik Armstead and Emmanuel Moseley returned to practice. Robert Nkemdiche’s release was a sign that Armstead was close to returning. Moseley’s health is critical, so it’s good to have him back on the field.
Let’s start with Danny Gray, who Patrick Peterson found out could fly:
Danny Gray TD here towards end of video pic.twitter.com/mDZ6uGtae1— Steph Sanchez (@stragosaurus) August 17, 2022
They are toward the top of the screen, and you can see Gray run right past Patrick Peterson, who wasn’t expecting Gray to run deep. Gray is so fast that he had to wait a split second for Lance’s pass.
I understand it’s just practice, but these types of deep shots weren’t a part of Kyle Shanahan’s playbook a season ago. Now, they can take shots down the field on early downs to loosen up the defense or in short-yardage situations when the opposition is expecting a running play.
Either way, the offense can use the full field, which will only make life easier for everyone else.
According to a few people on hand, Lance found Deebo Samuel for a 50-yard touchdown and connected with Brandon Aiyuk down the field as well. Again, it’s practice, but where the ball is going and how the team is using Lance matters.
Get ‘em, Kinlaw
Whenever defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans takes the podium to discuss Javon Kinlaw, he preaches pad level. The primary coaching point for Kinlaw is to come off the ball low and not stand up as the play goes along.
This play is precisely what the coaching staff wants from Kinlaw:
49ers Javon Kinlaw just ATE this Vikings OLineman pic.twitter.com/FJU6K8C6rv— Brad (@Graham_SFN) August 17, 2022
The play above gives you an idea about the chaos Kinlaw can cause. Having a defensive tackle that can collapse the pocket with the talent at the other three defensive line spots will be a headache for quarterbacks all season long.
Jefferson has a day
The Niners will slow roll Moseley back into action, so that means San Francisco guarded one of the best receivers in the NFL, Justin Jefferson, with a bunch of backups. As you might expect, they didn’t have much luck.
Whether it was during 1-on-1s or team periods, Jefferson had his way with the defense:
Look at this move Justin Jefferson puts on Deommodore Lenoir. pic.twitter.com/hCyMsEYMW3— Steph Sanchez (@stragosaurus) August 17, 2022
Get well soon, starters.
Odum, out of nowhere
Jimmie Ward is out for perhaps the next month. That means someone has to step up for safety. That could be Tarvarius Moore, but don’t count out Odum.
49ers George Odom picks off Vikings Kirk Cousins in team period pic.twitter.com/EkdZJRRJXO— Brad (@Graham_SFN) August 17, 2022
Consistency will be key for Odum, as he gave up a big play that led to a touchdown. But generating a turnover will always catch the attention of the coaches.
Lance found Deebo for a deep pass, but Samuel dropped it. As the teams were moving the ball, it sounds like that’s when Lance was his most effective. He found Aiyuk for gains of 15 and 17 on the same drive. The highlight came in the red zone, where Lance rolled to his right and found Samuel back across the middle for a score. Finally, on 4th & 10, Lance used his athleticism to evade a sack and hit Deebo for a gain of 25.
Lance finished the day 11-of-17 and had to do his fair share of scrambling as there were four would-be sacks.