San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tayler Hawkins, center, celebrates with teammates linebacker Segun Olubi, left, and safety George Odum, right, after intercepting a pass during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis (AP News photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
It’s only the preseason but things need to get cleaned up on the offensive side of the ball.
The San Francisco 49ers had another stellar performance by their defense, while the offense looked in preseason form in their 17-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday evening at U.S. Bank Stadium.
San Francisco improved to 2-0 on the preseason, while Minnesota dropped to 0-2.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had his backup quarterbacks rotating every two series to start the game. The majority of the offensive and defensive starters, including Tre Lance and Fred Warner, sitting this one out as this was an opportunity for guys on the bubble to make an impression before the cutdown to from 85 to 80 happens on August 23rd.
The defense stood out on the Vikings first drive. An outside corner blitz led to Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond to force a throw up in the air only to have 49er cornerback George Odom intercept the ball and return it for 34 yards.
Another welcome sighting was the play of defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. He recorded one sack and was in the backfield during his time in the first half. It was Kinlaw’s first game action since he tore his ACL last October.
The offensive side of the ball was another story in the first half. A combination of dropped by balls by three different players, penalties, bad pass protection from the offensive line led to just two Robbie Gould field goals as San Francisco trailed Minnesota 7-6 at halftime.
The 49ers were 1/7 on third down conversions and 0/2 on fourth down conversions in the first half.
San Francisco’s defense had three takeaways during the game and have six in the first two preseason games with five interceptions and one fumble recovery. The combo of Malik Turner and Sam Womack III were responsible for the fumble recovery.
Nate Sudfeld led a 14-play, 79 yard drive at the end of third quarter that resulted in a JaMycal Hasty two-yard rushing touchdown to give the Niners a 14-7 lead with 14:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Sudfeld finished the game 13 of 17 for 102 yards and one touchdown. Brock Purdy was 14 of 23 for 128 yards and no interceptions. Neither separated themselves for the backup quarterback job as they both played better in the second half.
Mond finished 10 of 20 for 82 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Sean Mannion was 10 of 15 for 65 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
GAME NOTES: 49ers offensive lineman Alfredo Gutierrez made his NFL debut in the final two minutes of the game and received the game ball from Shanahan.
UP NEXT: San Francisco finishes out the preseason against the Houston Texans on Thursday 8/25 at 5:15pm at NRG Stadium.