49ers

49ers beat Vikings in preseason opener, 17-6

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49ers beat Vikings in preseason opener, 17-6

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick led touchdown drives in an entirely different fashions to open the 49ers' exhibition season.Smith led the 49ers on a scoring drive that lasted more than seven minutes. Kaepernick's drive took all of 28 seconds, as he dashed 78 yards for a touchdown on his second snap of the game.The 49ers' two early touchdowns provided them with a lead they would not relinquish in a 17-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a windy night at Candlestick Park.The 49ers played without veterans Justin Smith, Frank Gore and Mario Manningham, who were held out for undisclosed reasons.All did not go perfectly, as outside linebacker Aldon Smith hobbled off the field late in the first quarter with what the team disclosed as a "hip bruise."
NEWS: Smith leaves with hip bruise
Smith's drive was a methodical, 12-play, 84-yard drive that featured Brandon Jacobs converting a fourth-and-one play with a three-yard run. Jacobs also had a 23-yard run.Smith hit receiver Brett Swain on a four-yard scoring pass to cap the drive. Michael Crabtree started and played for the first time in the exhibition season. He caught a three-yard pass. Randy Moss played four snaps but did not see a pass come his way.Kaepernick took considerably less time, as he kept the ball on a read-option. He broke into the secondary untouched and fended off Minnesota cornerback Chris Cook with a stiff arm for the final yards of his 78-yard touchdown run.
Scott Tolzien replaced Kaepernick at start of second half and completed 10 of 13 passes for 84 yards.
UPS AND DOWNS: Rookie A.J. Jenkins made a phenomenal fingertip grab of a Kaepernick dart at the right sideline for a 15-yard reception. But Jenkins dropped two passes before making another nifty grab of a five-yarder.TWO-WAY PLAYER: Demarcus Dobbs was officially issued No. 40, so he could play on offense without reporting in. Dobbs first saw backup action along the defensive line in the first half. In the second half, he played tight end.GIORGIO GETS HIS KICKS: Former Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio handled all of the kicking duties in place of veteran David Akers. Tavecchio made both extra points and also added a 29-yard field goal.DEFENSIVE MIXUP: On the Vikings' second play of the game, quarterback Christian Ponder hit wide receiver Stephen Burton on a deep post beyond cornerback Carlos Rogers. The play went for 52 yards. As soon as the play was over, Rogers had a discussion with safety Dashon Goldson, who left the middle wide open when he bit on an underneath route.HAPPY RETURN: Kyle Williams was back deep to return punts for the 49ers in the first half. William handled Chris Kluwe's second-quarter punt flawlessly and ripped off a 22-yard return. On his next chance, Williams called for a fair catch when it looked as if he had some room to return.BAKHTIARI BACKS 'EM UP: Outside linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, who played for Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, racked up two sacks on one series in the fourth quarter. His second sack came on a second-and-10 play from the 49ers' 33. The Vikings eventually were forced to punt.

Ward could begin practice this week

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Ward could begin practice this week

The 49ers could get their presumptive starting free safety back on the field this week.

Jimmie Ward, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since sustaining a hamstring injury during a conditioning test on the eve of training camp, will go through strenuous workouts Monday and Tuesday.

Ward could be cleared to return to practice as early as Wednesday, when the club is scheduled to hold its next practice.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday in a conference call with reporters that defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will will pace him through a football-related workout on Monday and Tuesday before a decision is made on Wednesday whether Ward is ready for football.

The 49ers envision Ward, a first-round draft pick in 2014, as a major contributor in the team’s new 4-3 scheme, which is based on Seattle’s defense. With strong safety Eric Reid playing close to the line of scrimmage, Ward will play the deep safety – a role that Earl Thomas has played for the Seahawks.

In Ward’s absence, undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games and appears to have played his way into solid position for a spot on the 53-man roster.

MORE TO COME

Report: Former 49ers wide receiver abruptly retires

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USATSI

Report: Former 49ers wide receiver abruptly retires

Less than two weeks after signing with the Buffalo Bills, veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin is reportedly hanging up his cleats.

The former 49ers wideout has informed the Bills that he's retiring, according to ESPN.

The 14-year veteran had signed a one-year deal with the Bills on August 7. After playing with the 49ers from 2013 to 2015, Boldin spent the 2016 season with the Lions.

According to ESPN, Boldin issued the following statement:

In his time with the Cardinals, Ravens, 49ers and Lions, Boldin caught 1,076 passes for 13,779 yards and 82 touchdowns.

In 2017, Boldin was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year by the NFL.