The 49ers are calling Minnesota home for the week, taking part in two joint practices with the Vikings ahead of Saturday's preseason game.
Here are eight takeaways from the first joint practice at the TCO Performance Center:
Trey Lance Enjoys Football Practice in his Home State
This is a homecoming for San Francisco's QB1, who grew up in Marshall, Minnesota, located just 150 miles from the Vikings practice facility. Plenty of Lance's family and friends were in attendance for Wednesday's workout and the coaches and players from his former high school will be bussed in to watch Thursday's practice. Lance was also greeted by members of the local media who have covered his career since the prep level.
"I was excited," Lance said. "I get to see my family, see some friends, but it is work at this point. These two days of practice should be awesome for us and Saturday as well."
The cornerback and defensive lineman are coming off injuries sustained during training camp. Armstead (knee sprain) and Moseley (hamstring) suited up and took part in individual drills on Wednesday. Per head coach Kyle Shanahan, both sat out of scrimmage and team drills. Gray, who was day-to-day with hip and back soreness was a full participant at practice.
The Lance-Gray Chemistry Continues to Build
After connecting for a touchdown in the preseason opener versus the Green Bay Packers, Lance and Gray linked up for another deep ball score in 7-on-7 drills. The rookie receiver beat Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson and hauled in another 50+ yard touchdown from QB1.
Rookie Offensive Lineman Gets Reps at Center
With offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill dealing with a hamstring injury, rookie Nick Zakelj took snaps at the center position. Zakelj spent most of his college career playing at left tackle, but has worked in as a guard during training camp and is now getting reps at another interior position on the offensive line.
Check out some of the top photos as the 49ers fly to Minnesota for the team's second preseason game and joint practices, presented by United.
George Odum Intercepts the Vikings QB1
In one of the more exciting defensive plays of the day, the fifth-year safety picked off Kirk Cousins on a pass intended for Dalvin Cook during the scrimmage portion of practice. The interception is one of nearly 20 made by the 49ers defensive unit throughout training camp. With Jimmie Ward sidelined due to a hamstring injury, extra production from the rest of the safeties is crucial to the success of the secondary.
Nick Bosa Creates Problems for Opposing Offenses
The defensive end continues to shine in camp practices, and if all goes according to Shanahan's plan, Bosa will not take a single snap in a preseason game. In addition to at least one would-be sack in 11-on-11 drills, No. 97 also had a nice run stop of Vikings back Alexander Mattison and a solid tackle on RB Dalvin Cook.
Deebo Samuel Makes Clutch Catches
Lance linked up with all of his receivers on the first team offense, completing several passes to Samuel during the scrimmage portion of practice. Lance's two most impressive connections with Samuel included a touchdown throw to open up red zone drills and a fourth down conversion that was good for 20+ yards.
"I felt like we were always hot," Lance said when asked about his growing connection with Samuel. "He's done a great job these last few days. The more reps we get together, the more stuff we get to watch together, the better we're going to be."
Switching Things Up is a Good Thing
This is the 49ers first road trip of the 2022 campaign, and Wednesday's workout proved to be a nice change of pace for both teams. Shanahan has had these two joint practices circled on the calendar and frequently referred to them as more important than the three preseason games on the schedule. Players echoed those same sentiments after lining up against their own teammates for the past three weeks of training camp.
"It's always nice to change the scenery and go against some different people," Shanahan said. "I know our players like that and always going against different fronts and schemes and different concepts is good for the monotony we've had."
"I love not blocking Nick Bosa," tight end George Kittle said. "It's wonderful. I love the change of the scenery, the beautiful facility. It's been a great day so far. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."