The San Francisco 49ers play the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday in the second preseason game for both teams. Preseason football can be difficult to watch because the games don't count and as the game progresses, you are watching many players that have little or no chance of making the opening day roster.
Don't expect to see much of Frank Gore, Vernon Davis or Michael Crabtree. Nevertheless, there are a few players to focus on, who will make watching this game much more interesting. Obviously, all eyes will be on Alex Smith--when he is in there. In addition, three players to watch closely in the upcoming game are Anthony Davis, Taylor Mays and Dominique Zeigler. These three should play a lot and their progress is very important to the 49ers.
Right tackle Anthony Davis did not fare well in the first game, against the Colts. Robert Mathis, a top pass rushing defensive end beat him consistently. Davis seemed to have particular trouble blocking his man when he was left out in space. The 49ers were forced to give Davis help by leaving a back in to help block on pass plays. Sunday's game will be a good indicator to see if Davis has progressed.
Safety Taylor Mays is another player to watch. Mays was decent in the first game, although he seemed to be feeling his way, and a half step late on many plays. Mays has the athleticism to be an impact player and it will be interesting to see if he plays more instinctively in this game.
The 49ers envision a safety tandem of Dashon Goldson and Mays, two hard-hitting play makers. Veteran Michael Lewis may begin the season as the starter, but it's likely just a matter of time before Mays takes over the position.
Receiver Dominique Zeigler is the other player to watch. He has been impressive in training camp and if he can carry that over into the games, he will solidify his position on the team. With Kyle Williams out due to injury and Brandon Jones released, Zeigler will get plenty of chances to make some plays. He can also show his value by impressing on punt return duty. He should get that opportunity with Williams out. A good showing by Zeigler will ensure his roster spot and get him more playing time.
The 49ers are hoping for big contributions from Davis, Mays and Zeigler. Focusing on these three players will make this preseason game against the Vikings much more interesting to watch. Their development will be a key to the Niners' success.