Toby Gerharts fame still looms large in the Bay Area fromhis gridiron days with the Stanford Cardinal.The six-foot, 234-pound running back will return for thefirst time since a preseason game in his rookie season two years ago when theMinnesota Vikings come to Candlestick Park on Friday for a preseason matchupwith the 49ers.Gerharts success at Stanford was legendary, nearlyculminating in a Heisman Trophy his senior year. Gerhart rushed for 1871 yards with28 touchdowns in 2009, both school records. He also won the Pac-10 OffensivePlayer of the Year Award and the Doak Walker Award. Gerharts 3,522 careerrushing yards at Stanford are the second most in school history, and his 44 rushingtouchdowns top the school list.After being selected in the second round of the NFL Draft bythe Vikings, Gerhart has worked to produce while backing up four-time ProBowler Adrian Peterson. Gerhart rushed for 531 yards last season with a 4.9yards-per-carry average. He also caught three touchdown passes.Gerhart has a short chance to make a name for himself at theprofessional level this season while Peterson recovers from a torn ACL sufferedin a Dec. 24 game against the Washington Redskins. Peterson will miss the preseason,though he could be back in time for the Vikings regular-season opener on Sept.9.Gerhart isnt the only Bay Area name returning for Fridays49ers game. Ex-49ers head coach Mike Singletary will face his former team forthe first time as linebackers coach and assistant head coach for the Vikings.Singletary joined the Vikings coaching staff in January 2011 after the 49ersfired him following a Week 16 loss to the St. Louis Rams in 2010.Colin Becht is an intern with CSNBayArea.com and a senior at Northwestern University.
Kyle Shanahan put together some of the final pieces of his coaching staff on Tuesday.
The 49ers announced the hirings of seven coaches, including confirmation of John Benton as offensive line coach.
The team hired former NFL standout linebacker DeMeco Ryans as defensive quality control coach. He was a second-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in the league. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 49ers also hired Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, Stan Kwan as assistant special teams, Vince Oghobaase as assistant defensive line, Adam Stenavich as assistant offensive line, and Michael Clay as strength and conditioning assistant.
Benton, 53, was hired away from the Broncos after being on the job for approximately a month. Benton served as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach last season. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).
Benton and Shanahan worked together for four seasons with the Houston Texans.
Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.
The only promises new 49ers general manager John Lynch made quarterback Colin Kaepernick for this offseason are open communication and honesty.
Kaepernick has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers after being a second-round draft pick in 2011. He has started 58 of the 49ers’ past 71 regular-season games.
Kaepernick has the contractual ability to opt out of his contract in March. If he does not, it seems likely the 49ers would release him – even if they want him back – to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay for the 2017 season.
“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”
Lynch said he developed trust and a good rapport with Kaepernick during the time when the 49ers were among the top teams in the NFL. Lynch was a broadcaster for FOX-TV and had occasion to meet with Kaepernick multiple times during production meetings.
“Every time we talk about Kap, I think of the guy who was in the Super Bowl not too (long ago),” Lynch said. “Things happen in guys’ careers. Injuries happen. Different things happen.”
Kaepernick began last season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert. After regaining his starting role in Week 6, Kaepernick put together his best season since 2013 – his first full season as a starter.
Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7, and he added 468 yards rushing.
Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have been evaluating the players on the 49ers’ roster. The other three quarterbacks on the roster – Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis – are not under contract for next season.
“Like we said we would – and like we told Kap we would – we’re assessing everything,” Lynch said. “Both Kyle and I believe wholeheartedly that position is the most-important position in football.
“From every side of this thing, we’re evaluating. And we’re continuing to watch the film. We’ll continue to work toward that until we have made a decision.”