49ers bring rookie reminder for Peterson

The San Francisco 49ers were a thorn in Adrian Peterson's side (and rushing average) when Patrick Willis and Peterson met as rookies in 2007. Those two are still stars on their respective teams and meet again Sunday.

The San Francisco 49ers have a chance on Sunday to place themselves in the discussion of NFC contenders.

Sure, the 49ers are 2-0 after opening the season with victories over the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks to take the lead in the NFC West. But the 49ers have a huge challenge in front of them when the travel to face the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.

And there is a little history with perhaps the most compelling matchup of the game.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis entered the league as rookies in 2007. Both immediately established themselves among the top players in the NFL.

Peterson was averaging 119.7 yards per game in 2007 when the teams played each other. Willis led the 49ers' defense, which held Peterson to a career-low 3 yards on 14 rushing attempts at Candlestick Park.

"He's a good running back," Willis said. "We have a lot of respect for him. It's going to be a good game, but I think — no, I know — we have a defense that can stop the run. That's our objective."

The 49ers are 2-0 for the first time since 2007, when they promptly went into an eight-game tailspin. The 49ers have not been 3-0 since 1998. Despite their solid opening, coach Mike Singletary says the 49ers have plenty of room for improvement.

"We have to do a better job overall cleaning it up so we can compete with anyone," Singletary said. "That's what we're trying to do. We're not satisfied with being 1-0, 2-0. We want to be a team that really makes a difference in this year's playoffs, championships, whatever.

"The only thing we know is that we're striving to be a good football team. The only thing we know is that we can run the ball when we put our minds to it and our offensive line has leverage to do that."

The 49ers cleaned up their offensive line play from a week earlier. The 49ers rolled up 379 yards of total offense with 256 of it coming on the ground. In their Week 1 victory, the 49ers gained just 21 yards on 25 rushing attempts.

"We just executed a lot better," 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said. "It came down to us as a whole, just getting the job done."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Well, you know what? If they're not taking us seriously, that's OK. They can keep doing that. We're going to continue to take ourselves seriously." - Singletary on the perception of the 49ers around the league.

TRENDING: Running back Frank Gore was held to 30 yards rushing on 22 carries in an opening-game victory against the Cardinals. He made amends with 207 yards rushing in a 23-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, during which he had scoring runs of 79 and 80 yards.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9-3 — Quarterback Shaun Hill's record as a starter improved to 9-3. His .750 winning percentage is the highest winning percentage in 49ers history with a minimum of 10 starts.

49ERS NOTES

  • WR Micheal Spurlock did not make an impact as the person in charge of running the 49ers' version of the "Wildcat." He fumbled an attempted handoff to Frank Gore, and then he wildly overthrew a wide open Vernon Davis on another play from the formation.

  • TE Vernon Davis caught two passes on the 49ers' first series of the game. Those were his only receptions Sunday in the 49ers' 23-10 victory over the Seahawks.

  • RB Frank Gore is expected to be all right after sustaining a right ankle sprain late in the 49ers' victory the Seahawks. X-rays were negative. Gore rushed for 207 yards on 16 carries, including touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards. He joined Barry Sanders as the only player with two scoring runs of 75 yards or more in the same game.

  • RB Glen Coffee sustained a right hip pointer but is expected to be fine to play against the Vikings on Sunday. Coffee saw his most extensive playing time against the Seahawks. He rushed for 13 yards on nine carries.

  • QB Shaun Hill did not put up eye-catching numbers, but he continues to win. Hill is 9-3 as an NFL starter. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 144 yards in the 49ers' win. He has not thrown an interception in 57 passing attempts this season.


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