Look beyond the 4-for-9 passing line from the preseason opener that was sullied by three dropped passes and two throwaways, and you can see the obvious progress of QB Christian Ponder in his first full offseason of work. Ponder was sharp and effective in leading the first-team offense against a respected 49ers defense, netting 122 yards and two field goals on 19 plays. Ponder connected twice with TE Kyle Rudolph, with whom he has shown great rapport throughout training camp, and helped highlight the talent in sudden riser Stephen Burton, who despite a drop, hauled in a 52-yard catch in a start in place of Percy Harvin, a healthy scratch. Credit Ponder: Despite running an offense that was without Harvin and RB Adrian Peterson, he kept the chains moving and there was a flow and a confidence that often was not there last season. It’s a first step, nothing more, but a promising one.