49ers defense faces first run challenge

September 19, 2012, 4:57 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers rarely put their best run-stopping defense on the field in the first two games.Still, with defenses comprised of mostly five and six defensive backs to defend against potent passing attacks, the 49ers held the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to just 127 yards on 40 rushing attempts (3.2 average).RELATED: 49ers schedule and results
On Sunday, expect to see a lot more of nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, who played only about a dozen snaps in the first two games. That's because the 49ers face the Minnesota Vikings, a team that leans toward the run game."If you follow us, you know we're going to try to establish the run," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday in a conference call with Bay Area reporters."We're not going to get away from that. Although San Francisco plays the run as well as anyone in our league. We feel good about Adrian (Peterson), about Toby Gerhart, about our offensive line that way. We want to try to get the run established."RELATED: Adrian Peterson game logs Toby Gerhart game logs
Peterson has already seemingly overcome the challenge of returning from season-ending ACL injury from a year ago. In two games, he has gained 144 yards and two touchdowns on 33 rushing attempts (4.4 average). He said he felt a lot better this week than he did following the Vikings' first game.He said he looks forward to the challenge of going up against a 49ers defense that will be designed to stop him. He also knows he'll have to contend with the 49ers' full complement of players on the front seven.After all, the 49ers' first priority against the Packers and Lions was to make sure they matched up in the passing game against multi-receiver sets. And those teams still could not run the football against Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and the entire cast of 49ers defenders.
"It goes to show how good they are with their front seven," Peterson said. "It's not a surprise to me what those guys are doing. They've been doing it since last year. It goes to show just the attitude and their approach in trying to stop the run. They did a good job. I don't think they've really played a team that's committed on running the ball like we will be. But we know we have our hands full and we're looking forward to the challenge."