49ers point of emphasis vs. Vikings No. 5: Find a standout among reserve cornerbacks
In a context similar to the Niners’ running back room, at least two active cornerbacks won’t see the field against the Vikings this Saturday: Charvarius Ward (hamstring) and Dontae Johnson (ribs). And with veteran Jason Verrett on the physically unable-to-perform list, he won’t be back either.
Fellow starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley did return to the joint practices after missing time with his own injury, but San Francisco is likely to be cautious with him, too, meaning the only penciled-in starter who probably takes the field versus Minnesota is rookie nickel corner Samuel Womack, whose two-interception game against the Packers put him into quite the spotlight.
Assuming the 49ers keep six cornerbacks on the 53-man roster, three spots are already accounted for with Ward, Womack and Moseley, leaving quite the competition to watch over these final two preseason games.
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Second-year pro Ambry Thomas has struggled in training camp, wasn’t particularly great against Green Bay and had up-and-down moments in practices against the Vikings. Fellow 2021 rookie Deommodore Lenoir has looked a lot better than Thomas but isn’t guaranteed a spot either.
Veterans Ken Crawley and Ka’Dar Hollman are on the weaker side of the bubble, while rookies Qwuantrezz Knight and Tariq Castro-Fields need to prove whatever value they can to show they’re worthy of at least a practice-squad designation if not a spot on the regular-season roster.
Minnesota doesn’t hurt for quality offensive weapons, even at the second- and third-tier levels, meaning whoever shines out of the reserve cornerback crop on Saturday, Aug. 20, will have a great shot at hanging around.