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Bleacher Report – Vikings

What we learned Around The League

San Francisco 49ers 34, Minnesota Vikings 14


1. Christian Ponder provided the usual grab-bag of shaky pocket presence, poor decision-making and the inability to challenge defenses down the field mixed with just enough bright spots to keep faith alive in the Vikings‘ passing game. The quarterback desperately needs Adrian Peterson on the field to sustain drives and consistently move the offense.

2. Speaking of Peterson, his 2013 preseason debut lasted just two plays. Per the Vikings‘ plan, both plays were passes to avoid any risk of injury to the franchise running back. There might not have been any logic to Peterson’s appearance beyond getting him back into a comfortable routine for the regular season.

3. Vikings All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams went down with what appeared to be a nasty knee injury on a low block. He likely will be sent for tests Monday.

3. Kendall Hunter appears to be Frank Gore‘s primary backup in San Francisco. Hunter erased doubts about his health with a strong burst on a 15-yard scamper. It was the most impressive form we’ve seen from any running back directly returning from Achilles surgery. The key will be avoiding the nagging leg injuries that have hampered those recovering tailbacks in the past.

4. Marlon Moore couldn’t get on the field in three years with the Miami Dolphins, but he has started in all three preseason games opposite Anquan Boldin on a Super Bowl contender. If Moore is the favorite to start the season as the 49ers‘ “X” receiver, then fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton might be the clubhouse leader in the slot. Sidelined by a fractured finger since the beginning of training camp, Patton tallied 35 yards and one touchdown while operating as Colin Kaepernick‘s No. 3 receiver.

5. Over the past two weeks, Justin Smith has proven to be the same dominant player he was before the triceps tear that sapped his effectiveness down the stretch last season. There’s plenty left in his tank.

6. Even with the injuries to Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin, the 49ers and Seahawks still boast the league’s deepest, most talented rosters. The NFC West superpowers are the class of the NFL after three weeks of preseason action.

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