Moss set to make return to Minnesota


Moss set to make return to Minnesota

SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Randy Moss will make his first appearance at the Metrodome on Sunday as a member of the visiting team when the 49ers face the Minnesota Vikings.

Moss spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Vikings after being chosen No. 21 overall in the 1998 draft. He returned briefly in 2010, catching 13 passes in four games before getting released.

On Wednesday, he spoke to reporters for about seven minutes. Here's what he had to say:

On his return to Minnesota:
"I'm just very fortunate to go back to where it all started. We had some great times in Minnesota, so I look forward to hearing the Metrodome rock. Now I'm with the away team, and I look forward to a good game."

Does it make a difference to you what kind of reaction you get from the fans there?
"Nah, not really. I'm a 49er. I think my Minnesota Viking days are over. So just going in as a 49er, like I said have some success and have a good game. That's what I plan to do."

There's been a lot of talk about how much playing time you're getting. Where do you stand on that? Are you concerned?
"No, I'm not. Next question."

During your introduction in the Lions game you said you were from Rand University? Is that a shout-out to your hometown?
"That's my whole community, man. I think in order to get to know me, you got to come back to my hometown, where I'm from to really understand what drives and pushes me to be able to be the best. There were some hard times coming out of Rand, West Virginia. Just showing my people love. Showing the kids love that no matter what I've accomplished in life, I still got love for my hometown."

Do you allow yourself to reflect on your days with the Vikings this week?
"(Laughs) I got my teammates in here messing with me . . . But, I just think my focus now is playing for the 49ers and being the best 49er I can be. I was drafted by coach Dennis Green, and I'm still appreciative to this day that he gave me an opportunity with all the nonsense and B.S. that was said during the draft. He gave me a chance. I'm still thankful for Dennis Green for giving me a chance to showcase my talent. As far as the past, it's the past. I look forward, and not backward."

What's the biggest thing that sticks with you during your time with the Vikings?
"I just think being able to be around guys who had a name. To see Randall McDaniel and John Randle go to the Hall of Fame. I played with those guys. I've been in the locker room, I've won with those guys, I've lost with those guys. To be able to practice with them day-in and day-out, and for them to receive a prestigious honor as making it to the Hall of Fame, man, it just felt good because I know those guys, not really personally but kind of personally, as teammates. I think that's the biggest thing that stands out to me. Now, the guys making to the Hall of Fame, I've either played with them or played against them. It's just something big to see John Randle and Randall McDaniel make it to the Hall of Fame."

Do you appreciate the passion of those fans, whether they boo you or cheer you or some of both on Sunday?
"One thing about praises and boos, obviously, you're doing something right. I think I can hang my hat on that. You hear the applause, of course you do. You hear the boos, but I think the boos, being negative, put more pressure on you to go out and hush that noise up. I look forward to hearing both. Like I said, I'm a 49er now, and hopefully we can go into the Metrodome and come out of there 3-0."

Do you keep track of how Percy Harvin is coming along and your influence on him?
"No, not at all. Percy is a heck of a receiver, a heck of a football player. He's real hard-nosed and he's very tough. That's one thing I really noticed about him when I was up there, how he goes about his business. He blocks. He runs after the catch very hard. You can't really tell if he's a receiver or a running back when he touches the ball. So I'm a big fan of Percy's. I was a big fan of his when he was at the University of Florida, and it's not going to stop now. Like I said, there are still a couple guys over there . . . I played with Adrian Peterson in my second stint in Minnesota. Like I said, history is history and the past is the past and I'm a 49er now. I just look for what I can do for this team."

After going through offseason program and training camp, to see yourself and your teammates put together two complete performances, any surprise the 49ers looked so sharp in the first two weeks?
"My motto has always been, if you put the hard work in, the hard work does pay off. They work the hell out of us here. I didn't really have a day off in training camp. I didn't really have a day off in teaching school or minicamp. So my focus was to come in and work, work, work, work and keep working. And like I said, hard work pays off. And being 2-0, just shows you how hard we worked because we played two good teams. We played the Green Bay Packers. They're a good team, playoff team. We played the Detroit Lions, playoff team. So our first three games, luckily happen to be the NFC North, so like I said, we're going to go to the Metrodome and see how the chips fall."

Do you feel like the Super Bowl is the one thing missing on your resume?
"Well, I'm not really thinking about Super Bowl, but that really is the only thing missing on my resume. You got to take it one game at a time, one day at a time, one practice at a time. We put the work in. It's too early to say, third week, where we're going or where we're headed. The only thing we can do is to come out here and get better each day and hopefully we keep going up."

What did Michael Crabtree show you last Friday when he brought the team together and said this offense needs to match this defense, and then he went out and made some key catches?
"Well, Crabtree's been through a lot in his career. I've always said I love sports, I'm a sports fan. I do pay attention. I don't really read the stuff you all write, but I do have ears and I do have eyes. But Crabtree has been through a lot. For him to be able to come out and -- I know it's early in the season -- but he's having a pretty good season so far. For him to stand up and bring us together and said, like you said, the offense has to match the defense . . . and then to come out here and make plays, that's something you can really hang your hat on and follow a guy like this."

You obviously didn't seem interested in talking about your number of snaps. Why is that?
"Because it's really not up to me. Like I said, I come out here and practice every day and when called upon, I just go out there and try to make a play. It's not up to me.

"Thank you."

How 49ers' additions during draft fit into the big picture

How 49ers' additions during draft fit into the big picture

During the course of the three-day NFL draft, 49ers general manager John Lynch made six trades to finish the weekend with 10 draft picks and one veteran player.

There is a specific plan for each of those players, Lynch said.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Parcells sent 49ers CEO Jed York a text and asked him to pass along some words of advice for the first-time general manager.

“He talked about making sure if you’re going to draft someone that everybody from personnel to coaching staff has a clear vision for what this player’s going to be for us,” Lynch said of the text from Parcells. “And we’ve tried to, with each player, challenge coaches to say, ‘How are you going to play this guy?’

“And if there’s any (vagueness) or it’s not crystal clear how they anticipate playing him, then we’ve either challenged them, ‘You better get there or I can’t feel comfortable taking him,’ and move on.”

Here is a look at the 11 players acquired and how they fit into what the 49ers are trying to build:

First round, No. 3: DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Thomas has the versatility to play – or at least be given a chance – at every position along the 49ers’ four-man line with the exception of nose tackle. The defensive end position on the strong side is his natural position. He is also a nice fit at the defensive tackle spot next to the team’s pass-rusher position on the weak side. Thomas could also get a look at that pass-rusher position, where Arik Armstead will get a look when he gets healthy from shoulder surgery.

First round, No. 31: LB Reuben Foster, Alabama
The 49ers signed veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith to a five-year, $26.5 million contract with $11.5 million fully guaranteed on the first day of free agency. But the 49ers traded up to grab Foster at the end of the first round with the thought of playing him in the same position. Foster will immediately learn the “Will” linebacker position. “That’s where he’ll lineup, but he’s going to be sideline to sideline,” Lynch said. Eventually, Foster could replace Bowman at middle linebacker. In Foster, the 49ers envision a player who can make also contributions on special teams, in pass coverage and as a pass-rusher.

Third round, No. 66: CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Colorado
Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson lined up at the cornerback positions during the voluntary veteran minicamp last week. Witherspoon is a talented player who is relatively new to the game. He admitted his tackling needs a lot of work. If he can play with a physicality and an attitude, he could win a starting job as a rookie over some of the other unproven cornerbacks on the roster.

Third round, No. 104: QB C.J. Beathard, Iowa
Coach Kyle Shanahan hand-picked Beathard to develop for future seasons. There is no pressure. Beathard comes to the 49ers as the clear No. 3 quarterback behind starter Brian Hoyer and backup Matt Barkley. “He’s extremely intelligent,” Shanahan said. “Football means the world to him. He really works at it. He’s accurate and he can process and play the game very fast in the pocket, I think that gives you a chance to play in this league. By no means does that mean that he’s ready to do that, but I think that’s a great guy that you have a chance with.”

Trade with Denver: RB Kapri Bibbs
Lynch served as a TV analyst for the Broncos exhibition games, and he liked what he saw from Bibbs, who spent three seasons in Denver. Bibbs finally earned a role last season with 29 carries for 129 yards in 12 games. He figures to compete for action on third downs, where Shanahan can isolate him in favorable matchups to catch passes out of the backfield.

Fourth round, No. 121: RB Joe Williams, Utah
Carlos Hyde is entering the final year of his contract, and he is going to have to show a lot to warrant a second contract with the organization. Williams (5 foot 11, 210 pounds) could take over as the team’s top running back. The 49ers initially removed Williams from consideration because he walked away from his college team early in the season. But Shanahan watched him on film and loved what he saw. After digging deeper into his background, the 49ers felt confident enough to invest a fourth-round pick in him.

Fifth round, No. 146: TE George Kittle, Iowa
Kittle is a good blocker who has a lot of upside as a pass-catcher. He is just 4 pounds lighter than O.J. Howard and ran an official time in the 40-yard dash at the combine that clocked just .01 seconds slower than the first tight end selected. The 49ers spent the weekend shopping veteran Vance McDonald in a trade. His time appears to be running out. It does not help him that Shanahan selected a tight end that exhibits the traits he wants from that position.

Fifth round, No. 177: WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
Taylor caught 136 passes and led the nation with 1,803 receiving yards as a slot receiver. His addition places oft-injured Bruce Ellington’s future with the team on shaky ground. Taylor is more quick than fast, and that is OK for how the 49ers envision using him. “This was a guy that we were excited with in his ability to separate in the slot, which is such a key component in today’s football,” Lynch said. Jeremy Kerley begins the offseason program as the 49ers' top slot receiver.

Sixth round, No. 198: DT D.J. Jones, Mississippi
The 49ers’ run defense was horrible last year, and it all started nose tackle. The team signed veteran Earl Mitchell as the presumptive starter. The 49ers are still trying to find the best fit for Quinton Dial, who could work his way into that position, as well. Jones gives the 49ers more brute strength on the inside. Said Lynch, “He’s a stout nose, who also has three-technique versatility, but yet I think really dynamic."

Sixth round, No. 202: DE/OLB Pita Taumeopenu, Utah
The 49ers have a few players they plan to audition at the pass-rush spot known as the “Leo.” Most of those players are big-bodied and are not prototypes for that position. Taumeopenu provides the 49ers with a dynamic pass-rusher who recorded nine sacks last season. “We felt like we’ve got so many big guys, we just want a speed rusher off the edge,” Lynch said. “He gave us a guy that, again, a guy that we grew to become very fond of throughout the process.”

Seventh round, No. 229: DB Adrian Colbert, Miami
Colbert is a hard-hitter who could make the team as a rookie based entirely off his play on special teams. The 49ers will place him at cornerback during the rookie minicamp. Depending on how he looks playing that position in Robert Saleh’s defensive scheme, the 49ers could move him to free safety to get work behind Jimmie Ward.

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB agrees to terms

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB agrees to terms

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are reportedly adding a fourth quarterback to their 90-man roster.

Nick Mullens a four-year starter at Southern Mississippi, agreed to terms with the 49ers after the conclusion of the Saturday’s NFL draft.

The 49ers reached agreements on the mandatory three-year, non-guaranteed contracts with 15 undrafted rookies, NBC Sports Bay Area confirmed. The club is expected this week to release some players currently on the offseason roster to make room for the rookies on the 90-man roster.

Mullens posted a drawing on Twitter from his childhood of "Joe Montana, Football Star." He wrote, "I've known about the @49ers since 2nd grade & now I can't wait to be apart of the organization! Ready to get to work in San Fran."

Draft picks, players who sign as undrafted rookies and other rookies invited for tryouts are scheduled to report Thursday for the 49ers' rookie minicamp. Practices will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As a senior, Mullens (6 foot 1, 196 pounds) completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 3,272 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Mullens joins a quarterback group that includes starter Brian Hoyer, backup Matt Barkley and third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard.

The other confirmed 49ers free-agent agreements are:

--TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville: He began his career with one-season stints at Sacramento State and City College of San Francisco before transferring to Louisville. Hikutini (6-4, 247) caught 50 passes for 668 yards and eight TDs in his final college season. Hikutini missed the Cardinals’ bowl game, the Senior Bowl and combine workouts due to a knee injury. He returned from the non-surgical injury to run at his pro day. Hikutini announced his signing with the 49ers via Twitter.

--DB Lorenzo Jerome, Saint Francis (PA): Jerome, a Senior Bowl invite, was named first-team FCS All-American. He intercepted six passes in 2016 with 59 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 pass break-ups. He added a touchdown on a kickoff return. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay ranked Jerome as the top undrafted player. Saint Francis announced the contract agreement.

--RB Matt Breida, Georgia Southern: In three seasons at Georgia Southern, Breida rushed for 3,740 yards and 37 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards a carry. Georgia Southern announced Breida's decision to sign with the 49ers.

--OL Erik Magnuson, Michigan: Magnuson (6-6, 305) was a first-team All-Big Ten performer who started every game at right tackle. He announced on Twitter that he has agreed to terms with the 49ers.

--WR Kendrick Bourne, Eastern Washington: He caught 211 passes for 3,130 yards and 27 touchdowns in his four-year career. Bourne (6-1, 203) had his best season as a senior, with 79 receptions for 1,201 yards and seven touchdowns. Eastern Washington announced Bourne’s three-year contract.

--OT Darrell Williams Jr., Western Kentucky: Williams (6-5, 315) started 41 games. He played his final two seasons at right tackle after moving from right guard. Western Kentucky announced the contract agreement with the 49ers.

--WR KD Cannon, Baylor: Cannon caught 195 passes for 3,113 and 27 touchdowns in his three-year career. He turned pro after a junior season in which he caught 87 passes for 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns. He announced his contract agreement with the 49ers via Twitter.

--WR Victor Bolden, Oregon State: Bolden played four seasons at Oregon State, catching a total of 170 passes for 1,863 yards and seven touchdowns. Bolden (5-8 ¾, 178) ran 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine. (Bolden via Twitter)

--LB Jimmie Gilbert, Colorado (Colorado Football)

--OL J.P. Flynn, Montana (Flynn via Twitter)

--DE Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia (@WVUSports247)

--LB Donavin Newsom, Missouri (Columbia Daily Tribune)

--OL Bret Treadway (Treadway via Twitter)

--FB Tyler McCloskey, Houston (Houston Chronicle)