Trey Lance, 49ers offense challenged during Vikings joint practice

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Lance, 49ers O-line challenged during Vikings joint practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

EAGAN, Minn. — The 49ers' offense endured a challenging session during joint practices with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday as they continue to work through the process of building chemistry and improving the play of the interior of the offensive line.

Trey Lance had an up-and-down day on the field with the Minnesota Vikings defensive pairing of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith getting a lot of pressure on the offensive line and closing the pocket. The second-year quarterback was “sacked” on three occasions.

With Mike McGlinchey sitting out of practice due a knee injury and Daniel Brunskill nursing his hamstring, Trent Williams was the only offensive lineman on the field with a significant amount of experience with the 49ers.

Jake Brendel was on the 49ers' roster in 2021 but in 16 games, he was only on the field for six offensive snaps and 70 for special teams. Aaron Banks has only been on the field for 49 total NFL snaps — five offensive, 44 special teams. Rookie Spencer Burford and Colton McKivitz (17 total games) round out the group.

"It's been great work for them,” Williams said on Thursday. “55 and 99, Danielle and Z. moved down on them a lot and it gives them a different look. And that’s what it’s going to be in the regular season. I’m glad we got to see it here where bullets aren’t live and we aren’t learning at the quarterback’s expense.”

It wasn't much different when Nate Sudfeld or Brock Purdy were under center. On one play, Justin Skule ended up pancaked on his back as Purdy attempted a pass.

Williams still has a very positive outlook on the season, believing that the younger additions to the offensive line will grow together as they continue to work and prepare for the season. The All-Pro has seen a marked change since the start of OTAs.

“I think they’ve kept improving every day and that’s the thing about having young players,” Williams said. “It’s never going to be perfect and they are on a climb. They are climbing a hill. As long they are taking a step forward each day, that’s all we can ask.”

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Without coach Kyle Shanahan game planning at all for the Vikings defense, the 49ers' offense had difficulty moving the ball. But Lance still gave his hometown crew something to cheer for. The 22-year-old connected with George Kittle on four occasions and Deebo Samuel twice, completing 13 completions of his 19 attempts.

Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon and Ty Davis-Price took most of the carries with the first-team facing the stout Vikings defensive line. JaMycal Hasty and Jordan Mason were in the backfield with the twos and threes and seemed to see more openings to run through.

The 49ers will have a walkthrough on Friday that is closed to media prior to their second preseason game on Saturday evening at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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