Adrian Peterson's preseason debut was short and one with no contact. It was a pre-planned strategy by Leslie Frazier. Plus, dumb penalties were a theme for both teams and other notes from Sunday's night loss to the 49ers.
All the hoopla surrounding Adrian Peterson
's preseason debut proved to be nothing more than lip service.
Peterson was on the field for just two plays and never got his hands on the ball.
"It was definitely limited but I felt like it was kind of effective getting the play-action in," he said. "It is all about keeping your body in shape, doing the necessary things … just making sure your body is ready to roll."
Peterson started the game and carried out play-action fakes on the first two offensive snaps, then was sent to the sideline for third down.
Interestingly, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he planned a long time ago to play Peterson only three plays but never relayed that publicly before the game, perhaps because it was a nationally televised game and the league's MVP could attract additional viewers.
"I had made the decision way in advance of this ballgame, the number of snaps that he was going to get," Frazier said. "Originally it was going to be three snaps. Once we got to third down, that was it. We got a chance to get him a little game action so he could get the adrenaline going and get a feel for the game situation. We got what we needed out of it."
and QB Christian Ponder
tied for the team lead with 20 rushing yards each.
San Francisco wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins couldn't seem to help himself. After playing five seasons in Tennessee, Hawkins is hoping to find a job with the 49ers and made a couple of plays that were big, but not always for the right reasons. He helped turn the game in San Francisco's favor with a 105-yard kickoff return.
However, he was called for not one, but two personal fouls on the play – one for taunting by pointing the ball at a chasing Vikings player and another for taking off his helmet in the end zone.
He also caught one pass for 22 yards, but, after the reception, he head-butted linebacker Desmond Bishop and effectively negated the play with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. For a guy in his sixth NFL season, Hawkins made some dumb mistakes that could cost him.
What a difference a half can make. In the first half Sunday, San Francisco gained 126 yards of offense. In the second half, they gained 230 yards. The Vikings gained 214 yards for the entire game – 106 in the first half and 108 in the second half.
The Vikings averaged just 3.7 yards per pass play, which was 0.2 yards less than they averaged on run plays.
The Vikings once again won the penalty battle, as the 49ers were called for 11 penalties for 118 yards, while the Vikings were called for six penalties for 75 yards. However, 30 of those yards came on two personal foul penalties called on offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
"One of the officials even mentioned it to me that it was uncharacteristic for him because that's not usually the case with Matt picking up personal fouls, and two in one ballgame," Frazier said. "That's something that we can sit and go through on the tape and talk to him about and get corrected. But he's one of those guys that we're counting on to play well for us every game. So we've got to make sure that he's consistent in his play and as a team we're not doing things to set us back, where we have to overcome ourselves. He knows that and I think he'll learn from this."
The 49ers held a solid advantage in time of possession, holding the ball for 34:04, while the Vikings had the ball for just 25:56. But, in the second half, the Vikings had the ball for just 11:15, while San Francisco held the ball for 18:45.
Matt Cassel struggled in his time on the field in the second half, completing just 3 of 10 passes for 28 yards. San Francisco's backup quarterbacks combined to complete 15 of 20 passes for 166 yards.
In what has become one of the more intriguing potential roster battles, Stephen Burton and Joe Webb had very different games. While Burton led the Vikings in receptions (3) and yards (31), it was his failure to continue a slant route that led to Ponder's interception. Meanwhile, Webb caught just one pass, but it was a perfect reaction to a high pass from Ponder that went for a touchdown.
For the second time in three games, fullback Zach Line caught a touchdown pass. The first was an 81-yard scoring play in the preseason opener. Sunday's was a 1-yard TD reception.
With not only a potential starting spot on the line, but a roster spot as well if he performed badly, Desmond Bishop responded with a game-high nine solo tackles.
The defenses dominated the action early as neither Ponder nor Kaepernick looked particularly sharp. After the first four drives – two for each team – the Vikings and 49ers combined for zero yards of offense.
The Vikings defense was plagued by long drives from both Kaepernick and backup Colt McCoy. In the first half, Kaepernick led an 11-play scoring drive. After he was given the rest of the night off, McCoy led the 49ers offense on drives of 11, nine and 15 plays.
Three different fans disrupted the game in the second half by running onto the field. As is league policy, the network carrying the game turns the cameras away from the fans to not give them any air time that could potentially encourage other fans to try the same thing. Jerome Simpson did his part, however. As security guards chased down one fan running by the Vikings sideline, Simpson tripped up the fan, allowing security personnel to catch up with him.
Don't expect to see many, if any, of the starters to see action in the final preseason game because there will only be one full day of practice for the Vikings before the Tennessee game Thursday night.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.