The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

August 26, 2013

Vikings still have work to do

(Continued)

He didn't touch the ball in this game, which kicks off a year in which he will try to become the first player with consecutive 2,000-yard rushing seasons.

"He's a big part of this offense. He's ready to go," Ponder said.

"Once he gets in there against Detroit, we won't miss a beat. We were trying to develop some other things in our offense without him, and we don't want to get him hurt."

The 49ers Quinton Patton is finally healthy. San Francisco fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton was prevented from catching passes two-handed for three weeks during training camp as he nursed a broken left index finger.

But on Sunday, his first professional reception was a pretty 19-yard gain in which he split defenders down the middle seam. He capped the impressive drive with a 5-yard touchdown reception and a creative end zone dance.

He didn't look too far behind despite not playing the first two preseason games.

"It felt great to get back out there with everybody," he said. "I kind of felt like I was being left out."

San Francisco's defense looks pretty good on the right edge as Aldon and Justin Smith were at their menacing best. They disrupted Ponder at every chance, and showed that the 49ers will bring one of the NFL's top defenses for a third straight season.

Justin Smith ran over two would-be blockers to pound Toby Gerhart for a 4-yard loss midway through the first quarter.

"Justin Smith had a burr in his saddle or something tonight," Harbaugh said. "He was Justin Smith. It was great."

Sack man Aldon Smith recovered a first-quarter fumble, and San Francisco capitalized with its first scoring drive.

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