As the 49ers head to Minnesota for a Monday night matchup with the Vikings, it’s time to look back on some players who have donned purple, and red, and gold in their careers. Some familiar names like Alex Boone, T.Y. McGill, J.T. O’Sullivan, Nick Mullens, and Gary Anderson are on this list. Here are three other notable players.
The prototype for the modern NFL running back spent eight years with the 49ers and totaled 7,064 rushing yards, 508 receptions, 4,442 receiving yards, 50 rushing touchdowns, and 16 receiving touchdowns from 1983 to 1990.
Despite all of those accolades and being on the All-Decade team of the 1980s, Craig was once again passed over for the Pro Football Hall of Fame last August.
After a one-year stint with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1991, Craig spent his final two seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. Craig played in 29 games but only started four. The twilight of Craig’s career ended with 535 rushing yards, 333 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns.
Nobody will ever confuse Moss as a 49er over a Viking. Moss amassed 587 receptions, 9,316 receiving yards, 92 touchdowns, and 15.9 yards per reception from 1998 to 2004. Moss spent 2010 with three different teams (New England, Tennessee, and Minnesota) before taking 2011 off.
At 35 years old, Moss joined the 49ers and helped the team reach the Super Bowl. His one-year stint totaled 28 receptions, 434 receiving yards, three touchdowns, and 15.5 yards per reception. Jerry Rice is the GOAT, and Moss and Terrell Owens round out the top three wide receiver ranks of all time. All three were 49ers.
Easily, the most obvious answer. McKinnon was drafted by the Vikings in the third round at 96th overall. From 2014 to 2017, McKinnon totaled 1,918 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns, 142 receptions, 984 receiving yards, and five receiving touchdowns.
One of Kyle Shanahan’s first acquisitions in 2018, McKinnon dealt with injuries and played in his first game for the 49ers in 2020. The idea was to utilize McKinnon’s speed and receiving ability in Shanahan’s system. Injuries ruined any chance to see how it would have worked.
In 2020, McKinnon put up a stat line of 319 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns, 33 receptions, 253 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown.
Since he’s been with Kansas City, we’ve seen the version Shanahan thought he was signing — just with the Chiefs. McKinnnon has primarily served as the Chiefs' third-down back, but he also gets a lot of the red zone work.
The 49ers ended up finding a do-it-all running back midway through last season. I’d say it’s worked out.