5 Good Questions With Niners Nation

Can Adrian Peterson and the Vikings offense move the ball against the 49ers?

Niners nation is one of the best blogs in the SB Nation family, and it's Head Proprietor Guy in Charge, David Fucillo, is quite the SB Nation mensch. He not only runs Niners Nation, but you'll also see his work on the Bay Area regional site as well as the SB Nation NFL page.

In short, you can't get away from David Fucillo, even if you tried. Because his work will find you, it will track you down, and it will make you much smarter about football than you'd ever imagine.

So we're thrilled that he was able to answer some questions we have about the San Francisco 49ers. We exchanged questions, and I'll post a link over at Niners Nation when they're posted..

DN: Let's go back to the 2005 draft. The 49ers take Alex Smith #1 overall, which was kind of surprising considering Cal QB Aaron Rodgers and his ties to northern California. Rodgers has gone on to win a Super Bowl in Green Bay and is one of the best QB's in the game, and Smith fought mediocrity and injuries just to become the dreaded 'game manager'...but got SF achingly close to the Super Bowl last year. For everything he did last year, it seems his past performance is still fresh in the minds of the 49ers organization, as they kind of dissed him this past off season with the 'take it or leave it' contract talks. Are the 49ers finally sold on Smith, or are they going all Baltimore Ravens when they had Trent Dilfer and look to kick him to the curb if Elvis Grbac becomes available? And did he win anyone over with his gutty bloody nose performance against the Lions? (kind of a rhetorical question, as it impressed the heck out of me).

NN: I think the QB situation in San Francisco is simply about who can help the 49ers win best. If it is for just this year, it's this year. If it is for the length of his three-year contract, so be it. I think Alex Smith is showing this year that he will stick around for at least a couple more years, but both sides have recognized the business nature of this situation. I think Alex Smith is showing that he can be a guy who can help carry a team and can execute the offense as the 49ers coaching staff want to see it executed.

I think Smith won over a big chunk of fans with the huge drives against the Saints last year in the playoffs. The win over Green Bay reassured folks, and the win over Detroit really blew it up. I think after the Manning stuff, Smith was able to recognize the business side of things. There may have been some hurt feelings initially, but for the most part, he seems fine with it. Ever since he had a kid last year, I think he is realizing what's important and I actually think that might be helping him mentally.

2. Smith backers like to point out that he never really had any weapons to work with when he got drafted, but now the 49ers have an impressive array, to include Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and...you knew this was coming...Randy Moss. Moss stokes a lot of emotion in these parts, both positive and negative. How was his signing by SF received by the fans, how has he worked out so far, and what's his role in the offense, or is that still TBD?

NN: There were mixed reactions. Some folks were psyched because of how good Moss has been. Others were not excited because of his year out of football. It was a broad range of reactions in part because many people just didn't know what to expect. Since then, it's still a little difficult. He has been getting some looks, but in the 15-20 snaps range. There were a couple questions this week about if he was satisfied with his playing time and he and Coach Harbaugh both brushed that off.

Thus far when Moss has been on the field, defenses have given him a fair amount of respect. He has found cushions on the field, and I find myself surprised to not see him getting challenged more. I think as defenses start to play the 49ers closer in the first 10-15 yards (where they are finding great success), I think we'll see Moss utilized as more of a deep threat again. For now though, things are pretty low key with him.


3. I'll say this right up front--your defense terrifies me. Justin and Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner (from THE Ohio State University), etc., etc. You've held two of the most high powered offenses to 22 and 19 points. Do you see any Vikings offensive players that cause matchup problems, and if you were the Vikings offensive coordinator, how would you attack your defense?

NN: I think Kyle Rudolph is a guy I would be keeping my eye on. The 49ers were successful against Brandon Pettigrew last week, but Jermichael Finley found some space at times the week before. He will likely be covered by Patrick Willis on Sunday. Willis has improved in his coverage skills, but I would not be surprised to see the Vikings attacking with Kyle Rudolph a fair amount.

Adrian Peterson does not necessarily have the matchup advantage but he did have 85 yards rushing in 2009 I believe. While I think the 49ers can contain him, he is still AP. I love the 49ers rush defense, and I love the challenge of facing great running backs.


4. Your organization, much like Minnesota's, went through a nasty stadium fight, but you finally prevailed and you'll be playing in a new facility soon. Tell us a little about the new stadium--have they broken ground yet, when will it open, what are some of the amenities you're looking forward to, and what's your fondest memory of Candlestick/Monster/3Com/Candlestick Park? Mine was the Anthony Carter '87 playoff game. :)

NN: The 49ers broke ground earlier this year and are quickly making progress toward a 2014 opener. The new stadium removes any doubt about any potential move (which never really came up), so it is nice to even remove the possibility. What should be most interesting about the stadium is the 49ers are engaging companies like Apple to turn it into a heavy tech environment. The stadium will be based in Silicon Valley, so it only makes sense for it to be a tech heavy stadium.

I actually have not been to a ton of games at Candlestick, but I did manage a great experience in my last game there. I was able to score a press pass for the 49ers-Saints playoff game. The stadium requires media to walk down on the field to get to the locker room for post-game interviews. I went down to the field with about five minutes of clock time remaining and was able to watch Alex Smith's scramble for a TD and the Vernon Davis from a spot basically right next to the 49ers end zone. One fo the best experiences of my life.


5. Tell me about one guy on offense and one guy on defense most Vikings fans need to be on the lookout for, and how they could impact the game. And of course, give me a prediction for Sunday.

Offense: Michael Crabtree - For a former first round pick, he has flown under the radar. However, this season he has been healthy, which has allowed him to really step up his game. He converted three separate third and longs against the Lions, and he has become Alex Smith's favorite target, ahead of even Vernon Davis. You won't see Crabtree do a lot of deep work, but you will see him get a lot of looks from Smith in short hitches and work over the middle.

Defense: Aldon Smith - The 49ers 2011 first round pick had a monster year in the pass rush, but he was focused mostly in the team's nickel defense. This year he is operating as an every down linebacker, which means he will be looking to stop Adrian Peterson from time to time. Aldon brings great athleticism, but he is still a work in progress. He has done some good work against the run, but this will be the biggest challenge he has faced thus far.

Prediction: I went with 49ers 31-13 in my chat with Chris yesterday, so I might as well stick with it right?


Bonus Question: Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz, Steel Cage Loser Leave The NFL Match: Who wins, and what would Harbaugh's finishing move be if he were a WWE wrestler?

NN: Jim Harbaugh wins thanks to the Hacksaw Jim Duggan three-point stance. Hoooooooooooooo!

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