49ers key matchup No. 2: Akers vs. Harvin

September 22, 2012, 2:50 pm
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This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Vikings matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (FOX-TV), at Mall of American Field.49ers K David Akerscoverage unit vs. Vikings KR Percy HarvinTale of the tape
Akers (2): 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, 14th season, Louisville
Harvin (12): 5-foot-11, 184 pounds, fourth season, FloridaAny time the 49ers kick off, the Minnesota Vikings will have one of their most dangerous weapons lined up deep with his sights set on the opposite end zone.It'll be kicker David Akers' job to blast the ball through the end zone and not allow Minnesota speedster Percy Harvin a chance to make a big play.Harvin averaged 33.2 yards on five kickoff returns in the first two games. Harvin returned returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in his first three seasons.Meanwhile, seven of Akers' 12 kickoffs in two games have gone for touchbacks. The author of an NFL-record-tying 63-yard field goal in the 49ers' opening-week victory at Green Bay, Akers will be counted upon to show the strength in his leg with repeated touchbacks.Because if Harvin is able to bring the ball out of the end zone, things might get difficult on the 49ers' coverage unit.If the 49ers are worse from a year ago in any phase, it's probably with their coverage units. The 49ers did not re-sign Blake Costanzo, and the club dealt special-teamer Colin Jones to the Carolina Panthers for draft pick.In two games, the 49ers rank 29th in the NFL in punt coverage, including one touchdown allowed to the Packers' Randall Cobb, and 25th on defending kickoff returns. Second-year player Marcus Sherels, not Harvin, returns punts for the Vikings"We've got the right guys out there," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "We really believe that. We know we've got the right coach (special teams coordinator Brad Seely), the right blend there. And it's not like any other part of our game, and part of our football team. We're striving for excellence."