Usually, for each Minnesota Vikings game, we sit down and do five questions with the SB Nation site for the team that the Vikings are playing. However this week, due to time constraints, we’re doing a slightly abbreviated version with our friends from Niners Nation, home of San Francisco 49ers football, as we’re just going to go with three things to watch instead.
David Fucillo and I each gave the opposing site an offensive bubble player to watch, a defensive bubble player to watch, and a “fourth quarter” player to watch. When he posts my answers over on Niners Nation, I will link them here. Until then, here are the players for San Francisco that David gave me.
49ers offensive bubble player to watch
The backup quarterback competition has actually gotten really interesting. The team signed Matt Barkley in March, and then traded up to draft C.J. Beathard in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The thought was Barkley would back up Brian Hoyer, and Beathard would sit on the bench developing all season. However, through two preseason games, Beathard has pushed Barkley for the backup role. If Beathard claims in, Barkley will likely be cut. But it's entirely up in the air, and Kyle Shanahan has not yet declared a No. 2 quarterback for Sunday.
49ers defensive bubble player to watch
We'll go with another intense position competition. Ahmad Brooks and Eli Harold are competing for the SAM outside linebacker role. Brooks has been the prohibitive favorite for much of camp, but last week, Harold moved into the starting lineup, and got first team snaps in the Week 2 preseason game. If Harold wins the job, Brooks will be cut or traded, but if Brooks claims it, they likely keep both of them.
(Note: Brooks was, in fact, released by the Niners today, but that came after David sent me these answers.)
49ers player to watch in the fourth quarter
UDFA wide receivers Victor Bolden and Kendrick Bourne appear to be moving up the depth chart, but with starters getting a lot more playing time, both could be playing deep into the second half. Bourne led the team in receiving in Week 1, and Bolden had a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Week 2. Both are flashing as the team tries to figure out the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart.
We’ll have a few more things on this weekend’s contest against the 49ers as we get closer to kickoff.