The NFL’s attention will be on the Vikings vs. 49ers football game tonight at 5:00 PM. The nationally televised game on NBC will be most likely be the most hyped preseason game with the unretired/re-retired/one ankle Brett Favre and all the media attention surrounding his first start. Last time we saw the Vikings we were burned by Favre in the final seconds and robbed of a win. Good thing this time around is Favre won’t get another chance at a lucky heave down the field for a win. Favre will most likely play one or two series.
Here is what to look out for on the 49ers side of the ball:
- Alex Smith: Smith needs to show better command of the offense than he showed last game against the Colts. It won’t be easy against the Vikings defense. To make matters worse Vernon Davis (knee), Michael Crabtree (neck) and Frank Gore (rest) will be out of tonight’s game. All three could play but Mike Singletary is using caution with the three. Rest is good but for the second straight game Smith cannot develop game experience with his big three targets.
- Nate Davis: The 49ers are still riding high on Davis and so I am. He is a few years away from being a starting quarterback but it seems the 49ers are willing to see how he develops and whether or not they have a franchise QB. Davis will get a majority of the snaps tonight under center with the second team offense. Singletary and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye want to see how Davis plays in a game against second string units. We might even see him with the first team offense depending on how Smith plays.
- Anthony Dixon: Dixon’s numbers last week against the Colts were noteworthy with 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. But when I read comments about his progress in training camp from Singletary and Raye they are not always positive. It is not sure whether or not Brian Westbrook will see any action tonight so this is another chance for Dixon to shine against a good run defense.
- David Baas: With center Eric Heitmann out with a broken leg former guard Baas slid over to center and has excelled. He played well against the Colts and with another good game tonight he could cement himself as the starter in week one.
- Reggie Smith vs. Michael Lewis: Smith has shown in the preseason he can be a starter at safety. Veteran Lewis is the incumbent starter but Singletary is looking for the best at all positions. So far Smith has outplayed Lewis which could mean the end of him starting in the secondary.