The 49ers’ 17-7 win over the Vikings in Week 2 of the preseason was an uneventful defensive battle that was indicative of the rash of starters sitting out for both teams.
Starters sitting means opportunities for some edge-of-the-roster players to stand out though. A handful of players saw their stocks climb with the added chances, but a slew of others didn’t play well and their stock dipped some going into the final week of the preseason.
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Here’s a quick stock report after Saturday night:
Turner had a really nice outing with big plays on offense and special teams. He made a great grab in traffic on a third-and-12 to extend a 49ers drive early in the game. Later on special teams he punched the ball out on a punt return and cornerback Samuel Womack jumped on it for the turnover. If the 49ers keep six receivers, the job appears to be Turner’s to lose.
Sermon struggled again Saturday night. He had five carries for eight yards, giving him 19 yards on 11 carries in the preseason. The 2021 third-round RB is still a little indecisive and has a hard time breaking tackles or creating yards. The blocking in front of him hasn’t been great, but Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason were both able to generate some yards against Minnesota.
Moore played a ton Saturday night, but it was pretty clear in the preseason opener against Green Bay that he needed some reps after missing all of last year with a torn Achilles tendon. He had a pass breakup and in general played well in the back end against a not-very-good Vikings offense. He’s not likely to overtake Talanoa Hufanga for the starting strong safety job, but it’s a positive sign for the 49ers that Moore looked more like his usual self after some additional on-field work. He should still have some role on the 49ers’ defense this year.
It’s hard to find a lot of good things to say about the members of the offensive line that played Saturday night. Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey both sat. As did Jake Brendel. Nobody else played particularly well. The 49ers should be okay on the starting offensive line, but their depth is not a strong suit.
Mason looked excellent against Minnesota in the fourth quarter. He was decisive, ran hard, broke tackles and in general looked at least like a player the 49ers should consider keeping on the roster. Mason ran it nine times for 57 yards and had a 17-yard run where he made a nice cut and ran through a couple of defenders to give the 49ers a first-and-goal to set up their game-sealing field goal. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Mason got more carries in the finale vs. Houston.
The 49ers had too many drops Saturday. WR Juan Jennings had one, as did Sermon and TE Tanner Hudson. All three were easily catchable throws. Jennings and Hudson in particular both had easy receptions falling out of their hands. San Francisco is going to need their playmakers to help out their QBs this year, so drops cannot continue to be an issue.
Kinlaw was dominant Saturday night and notched his first sack of the preseason. He was going mostly against reserves on the Vikings’ offensive line, but it looked like a starting-caliber defensive lineman going against backups. While there’s more work to do for Kinlaw to be an impact player on the 49ers’ defensive line, he should get plenty of one-on-one looks with the talent surrounding him. If he can win those one-on-one reps with some frequency he should take a big leap in 2022.
Davis-Price looked much better in his second preseason game. He went backwards on a fourth-and-short early in the contest, but after that looked like the back the 49ers wanted when they selected him in the third round. He showed burst, good balance through contact and outright ran over a few defenders. Davis-Price finished the night with 41 yards on 10 carries. Take away his lost yard on his first attempt and he went for 42 yards on nine totes. It was a strong night for the rookie RB.