49ers may need to go to air to get past Vikes

The 49ers might be 2-0, but they still have not put it all together. San Francisco regained its run game last week as Frank Gore rushed for more than 200 yards in a victory over the Seattle Seahawks. But at some point the Niners are going to need more contributions from the passing attack, and that point could come in Sunday's early NFC showdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

In two games, quarterback Shaun Hill has thrown for just 353 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Certainly, the 49ers are not complaining.

But what happens Sunday if the 49ers fall behind and need Hill's passing to lead them back against the unbeaten Vikings at the Metrodome?

"Hopefully, we never have to ask him to do that," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. "Hopefully we don't have to have a quarterback here in a position to just take us and put us on his back and take us down the field."

Singletary said he wants the defense, running game - and specifically, the offensive line - to be the areas on which the 49ers will rely this season.

The defense was stellar in victories over the Arizona Cardinals and Seahawks. The 49ers have not surrendered any points in the first quarter, and they have given up just 26 points total in two games.

The 49ers want to control the game and the clock with its running attack. They have accomplished that, as well, with an average six-minute advantage in time of possession.

Meanwhile, Hill just keeps plugging away. He is 9-3 in parts of three seasons as the team's starting quarterback. This is the first season that he has started a game in the first half of the season in his eight-year NFL career.

Hill is completing 65 percent of his passes with one touchdown and no interceptions.

"I believe that what he's doing right now has been good enough the first two games," Singletary said. "Going forward, to start with, we're going to run the ball. We're going to have to run the ball, and as we run the ball and Shaun Hill makes some plays here and there and as he gets more comfortable, he can open it up a bit."

Hill has a low-key demeanor off the field, as he never lobbies for offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye to change his approach.

"We've been able to run the ball and that's a good thing," Hill said.

But he said the offense will be ready if placed in a situation in which the passing game must take charge.

"We practice all that stuff all the time," he said.

And the 49ers implemented all that practice in the season opener, too. The 49ers stubbornly stuck with the run game through three quarters and found themselves trailing.

Raye turned it over to Hill at the start of the fourth quarter, and Hill responded with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard scoring pass to Gore. On the drive, Hill attempted 13 passes.

Tight end Vernon Davis, who is one of Hill's favorite targets, said it would be a good thing if the 49ers open up the offense.

"You got to leave that up to Jimmy Raye," he said.

Hill has been very efficient when given an opportunity to play. His career passer rating is 90. He's thrown 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

"I think Shaun Hill is a game manager," Davis said. "He shows a lot of poise and is not scared. He comes ready to play every Sunday, and he's confident in what he can do."

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Wide receiver Josh Morgan did not catch a pass last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. But he still managed to figure prominently in both 49ers touchdowns as a downfield blocker. Morgan issued a friendly warning to fullback Moran Norris.

"I told him, 'Look out for that fullback job,' because Frank (Gore) was scoring on all my blocks, not his," Morgan said.

Morgan had three catches for 38 yards in the season opener, but he did not see one pass come his way Sunday in the 49ers' 23-10 victory over the Seattle.

"I didn't get shut out because I was open a lot," Morgan said. "I thought I did a great job."

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Clearly, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be the focus of a lot of the 49ers' attention Sunday. The 49ers rank third in the league in run defense. The 49ers have held the opposition to 106 yards - and a 2.7-yard rushing average - in two games.

?Adrian is a guy who has a ton of speed," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. "He is their bell cow. It's going to be an interesting matchup.

"I think it's important for us to focus on the entire game and not focus on Adrian Peterson and not focus on Brett Favre and all that - but just know that he's a special football player and we're going to have our hands full containing him."

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell found the 49ers guilty of violating the league's anti-tampering policy with their 2007 trade-deadline dealings with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. The 49ers were docked a fifth-round draft pick.

Now, the 49ers believe they've been victimized by tampering. The club has filed a complaint against the New York Jets, claiming the organization had inappropriate communication with unsigned draft pick Michael Crabtree.

Talk of tampering began Sept. 4 when Crabtree confidant, Deion Sanders, said on the NFL Network that were two teams willing to pay Crabtree the kind of money he is seeking from the 49ers. Sanders added, "and he knows it."

The 49ers have focused on the Jets, and at this point do not believe there is another team that violated the rules.

The Jets are vehemently denying any accusations of wrongdoing. Jets coach Rex Ryan on Monday called the allegations "ridiculous." He said he wishes the Jets could play the 49ers.

When asked about Ryan's comment, 49ers coach Mike Singletary responded, "I think it's outstanding. I love that. That's Rex Ryan. I love Rex Ryan, as well. Maybe at some point in time we will play. But, for right now, we're thinking about Minnesota and we've got to get prepared for them. And, who knows? Maybe we'll see Rex somewhere along the line."

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Starting right tackle Adam Snyder will continue to split some of his playing time with veteran Tony Pashos, whom the 49ers signed after he was among the Jacksonville Jaguars' final cuts.

Snyder struggled in pass protection in the 49ers' Week 1 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, opening the door for Pashos to work into the mix. Both players were at least partially responsible for sacks allowed in the 49ers' second game, a 23-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Despite the problems the team appears to be having at right tackle, coach Mike Singletary said he is not worried about right tackle being a long-term problem.

"It really isn't an area of concern right now," Singletary said. "I think if Tony Pashos were not here, it may be an area of concern. The fact that he is here, I know that it's going to take care of itself."



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