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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers at Vikings defensive player grades: Rookies continue to shine

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 24, 2022 at 7:15 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 17-7, putting them at 2-0 in the preseason during a game in which only four starters, including slot cornerback Samuel Womack, were active.

Here are the defensive player grades for the game:

Defensive Line: A

The defensive line was everywhere on Saturday, consistently getting pressure on quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion, which forced an early interception to George Odum.

Rookie defensive end Drake Jackson was the star of the show on Saturday, recording four pressures and a deflected pass. One of Jackson's pressures forced an interception from quarterback Kellen Mond, and the USC product has built off his training camp performance with a strong preseason.

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw played a significant number of snaps Saturday and finally got on the stat sheet, recording a sack with a nice pass-rush move, while also faring well against double-teams on different occasions during the game.

Jordan Willis generated four pressures, while Kevin Atkins recorded two pressures, and Charles Omenihu and Hassan Ridgeway each got one pressure apiece.

Linebackers: A

Oren Burks continues to be a factor in the preaseason for the 49ers, recording a team-high eight tackles after accomplishing the same feat against the Green Bay Packers a week ago.

The linebackers were suffocating in the run game, as the Vikings rushed for only 4.2 yards per carry, while both quarterbacks failed to push the ball in the passing game, averaging just 4.2 yards per attempt.

Cornerbacks: A

The cornerbacks were one of the best position groups on the field on Saturday, with several contributors making plays, both in coverage and as tacklers.

Deommodore Lenoir led the bunch, starting opposite veteran Ken Crawley, and the former fifth-round pick had several great plays in coverage.

Lenoir, who saw action in the slot and on the outside, could be a versatile backup for the 49ers as the first man up, with the Oregon product having a strong preseason and showcasing the ability to play either cornerback position.

Lenoir tackled well during Saturday's game which was a good sign for the potential backup at slot cornerback.

Ambry Thomas did not play in Saturday's game as the broadcast revealed that the cornerback suffered a knee injury, which has kept him out of practice this week.

Other names that flashed were Tariq Castro-Fields and Qwuantrezz Knight, with the former making the most of his opportunity with a fairly good game on the second-team defense, apart from one penalty, while the latter played good coverage in the slot, taking over with the backups after the release of Darqueze Dennard.

Safeties: A

Starting safeties Talanoa Hufanga and Jimmie Ward did not play on Saturday, leaving George Odum and Tarvarius Moore with the first-team defense against the Vikings.

Odum had another good game, recording an interception, while Moore bounced back from his slow start to the preseason with a good game on Saturday.

Both are currently in the competition as the potential starter opposite Hufanga with Ward in danger of missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury.

Backup safety Tayler Hawkins had a solid performance as well, recording the game-ending interception on a downfield pass in the fourth quarter.

Overall, the defense had a strong performance on Saturday, limiting the Vikings to just seven points and 3.9 yards per play, en route to a 17-7 victory.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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