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Reid Eager to Face Adrian Peterson

Posted Aug 19, 2013

Eric Reid is in line to start at free safety this week when the 49ers host the Minnesota Vikings.


Eric Reid is in line to start at free safety this week when the 49ers host the Minnesota Vikings.

Beyond making his first start, Reid, the first-round pick, is hopeful he’ll get an opportunity to face reigning NFL MVP, Adrian Peterson. Minnesota’s 2,000-yard runner hasn’t played in the preseason yet in 2013, but is expected to make his debut in San Francisco this Sunday.

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Reid is hopeful he’ll get a chance to compete against Peterson.

“I’m looking forward to it,” the No. 18 overall pick said on Monday. “That’s obviously a guy I’ve watched a lot of growing up. So that’d be nice. Maybe if I can tackle him, get a solo tackle and have a picture, that’d be something I would keep.”

Reid could get that opportunity in the all-important third preseason game, a 60-minute contest treated by many teams as the final tune-up for regular season action.

Jim Harbaugh said Reid’s development has been “very positive,” and noted that with everything Reid has shown in the preseason (six tackles, one pass breakup and one quarterback hit), the rookie safety would get “looks” with the first-team defense in preseason action.

Vic Fangio took those comments one step further on Monday. The 49ers defensive coordinator shared that the team is strongly considering putting Reid in the starting lineup.
 
WATCH: FANGIO WIRED FOR SOUND

“He’s done well all camp,” Fangio said of the rookie. “We’ll probably start him in this game.”
 
Reid has maintained all offseason that he’s looking to start Week 1 of the regular season. In his mind, nobody has bigger expectations than himself.

“There are always expectations from the media and the fans, but I don’t really look much into that,” Reid said. “I always want to better myself as a player. I’m self-motivated. The pressure that I feel is all by me.”

Reid has played the bulk of the team’s preseason games at free safety. Reid’s reps, however, have come with the second-team defense. Veteran Craig Dahl has lined up with the starters in the first two weeks. With the second-team unit, Reid has been able to showcase his growing knowledge of San Francisco’s defensive system. He’s also been able to adjust to the speed of the NFL game.

“There’s always a good amount of thinking that goes on before the snap,” Reid detailed. “It’s crazy. I never thought about it that much before now. But, once the play gets going, you need to have an idea about what you’re going to do if the receiver does this – what are you going to do? If the line does this – what are you going to do? So, from that standpoint there’s a ton of thinking because you want to be prepared. When the ball is actually snapped you can play faster.”

Judging by the big hits already displayed by Reid, a hard-hitting blitz against former quarterback Alex Smith chief among them, the 49ers rookie is making a solid transition in a veteran-heavy defense.

In particular, Reid feels like he’s meshed well with Pro Bowl strong safety Donte Whitner.
 
“He’s an awesome guy to work with,” Reid said. “He knows the playbook like the back of his hand. On the field, he’s like, ‘Hey, watch out for this. They might do this.’”

Reid has been sprinkled into the starting lineup with Whitner at various times of training camp. All the experience of playing next to the respected safety has allowed Reid to grow into a promising player.

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Reid is also starting to see the game from Whitner’s perspective.

“What I’m starting to learn is offenses do everything for a reason,” the rookie said. “If a receiver lines up here, it’s for a reason. If he’s got a tight split, that’s for a reason.

“He’s always on his toes and that makes my job easy.”

Outside of practice, Reid has taken notice to how Whitner prepares in the film room. The rookie watches the veteran ask questions and take detailed notes.

“That lets me know he’s always looking to improve,” Reid said. “That’s the type of guys I want to be around.”

Moreover, Reid hopes to be next to Whitner when Peterson and the Vikings come to town.

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