49ers key matchup No. 3: Sopoaga vs. Sullivan


49ers key matchup No. 3: Sopoaga vs. Sullivan

This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Vikings matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (FOX-TV), at Mall of American Field.49ers NT Isaac Sopoaga vs. Vikings C John SullivanTale of the tape
Sopoaga (90): 6-foot-2, 330 pounds, ninth season, Hawaii
Sullivan (65): 6-foot-4, 301 pounds, fifth season, Notre DameNose tackle Isaac Sopoaga has been the forgotten man on the 49ers' starting defense through the first two games.That's because Sopoaga played only 15 snaps from scrimmage combined in the 49ers' season-opening victories over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.When the 49ers face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, that will change. Sopoaga will be asked to play a lot as a run-stuffer in the middle of the 49ers' line against a team that wants to run the football.MAIOCCO: 49ers defense faces first run challenge
"He'll definitely get more play than he's been getting based upon the way Minnesota plays," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said.And how's that?"If you follow us, you know we're going to try to establish the run," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.Running back Adrian Peterson is rounding into top form after undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee in December. Peterson has rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 33 rushing attempts in the first two games. Frazier suggested Peterson's work load could increase.MAIOCCO: Peterson says Willis should've been No. 2 pick
The Vikings love to run the ball behind center John Sullivan, who last season signed a five-year, 25 million extension. No team in the NFL has run as many plays straight up the middle as Minnesota. On 28 runs over center, the Vikings have averaged 4.25 yards per attempt.Sullivan, who played every snap in the Vikings' Week 2 loss at Indianapolis, went through limited practice Wednesday and Thursday due to an ankle injury. He is expected to play Sunday, and he'll have his hands full against a fresh Sopoaga.Sopoaga plays nose tackle in the 49ers' 3-4 scheme. When the 49ers go with extra defensive backs in passing situations, Sopoaga is the first player to exit the field.Finally, he'll get a full day's work. His job will be to tie up Sullivan, and perhaps even a guard, to prevent the Vikings' offensive line from getting to the second level to block Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.If Willis and Bowman are able to make plays near the line of scrimmage in the run game, it means Sopoaga has done his job.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Source: 49ers plan second interview with Shanahan; Cable withdraws name

Source: 49ers plan second interview with Shanahan; Cable withdraws name

The 49ers will interview Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after this weekend’s NFC Championship game, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday.

The only remaining head-coach candidate, Tom Cable, formally withdrew from consideration, according to his agent, Doug Hendrickson. Cable interviewed with the 49ers on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the 49ers also have a general manager vacancy to fill. The team is in the process of narrowing down their list of eight candidates, a source said. Seattle’s Trent Kirchner pulled his name from consideration on Tuesday. The 49ers could have a round of second interviews for the GM job.

The 49ers fired coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the club finished the regular season with a 2-14 record.

The 49ers conducted their first interview with Shanahan on Jan. 6, as allowed by NFL rules, when the Falcons were on their bye in the first week of the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

The 49ers are allowed to conduct a second interview with Shanahan next week, regardless of whether the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl or their season comes to a conclusion against the Green Bay Packers.

If the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl, the 49ers would not be able to make a formal contract offer to Shanahan until following the Super Bowl.

Shanahan, 37, is the son for two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan. He has served nine NFL seasons as an offensive coordinator. His offenses have ranked in the top-10 of total offense in six of those seasons.

Shanahan interviewed for the head-coaching vacancies with Jacksonville and Denver this offseason. Another scheduled interview with the Los Angeles Rams was canceled when Rams officials could not get to Atlanta due to weather conditions.