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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

49ers on Friday: Elijah Mitchell could face Vikings with pin in broken finger

Eliza Mitchell practiced throughout the week in the blue jersey, which serves as a reminder not to be touched during practice.

That could change on Sunday when the 49ers host the Minnesota Vikings at Levi’s Stadium, where it’s possible the team’s lead rusher could be available after missing just one game following surgery to insert a pin into a broken finger. Is.

Mitchell was officially listed as a suspect on Friday, but no one would be surprised if he played against Minnesota and picked up where he left off in a surprising rookie season.

“If he’s not 100 percent sure how he feels, we’ll put him out there, so it’s mainly just getting to that point, and it’s close to him,” said 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. said.

Mitchell leads the 49ers on 116 carries with 560 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per attempt with three touchdowns.

A sixth-round draft pick from Louisiana-Lafayette, Mitchell defeated third-round draft pick Trey Cerman from the start and assumed the role of lead back when Raheem Mostart lost for the season following knee surgery.

Mitchell is the NFL’s second leading rookie rusher, behind Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Naji Harris, who has 685 yards. Mitchell’s per-game average (he also missed with shoulder and rib injuries) is better than Harris (68.5 from 80 yards per game).

The injury resulted in the 49ers’ 31-10 win over the Rams, a game in which Mitchell did 27 times for 91 yards. His last high season was 19 in the opener against the Rams.

Although it is unusual for a broken finger to be available to run so quickly after inserting a pin to immobilize it, Shanahan said, “It has to do with where it belongs, you can protect it, that kind of thing.” things. He recovers quickly and he is not out, so all is well.”

In Mitchell’s absence, the 49ers used Jeff Wilson Jr. (19 carries for 50 yards), Cerman (10 for 32) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel off the backfield as running backs (nine carries, 79 yards). .

Mitchell, Shanahan said, has been “upfront” about his injury, saying, “I think he’ll be in sports, too. Adrenaline is a weird thing in those sports. Sometimes you don’t even feel the pain until it’s on.” till.”

The 49ers made a comeback from 3-5 starts in part as they re-dedicated themselves to runs, including 42 runs for 156 yards and 42 runs for 171 yards against Jacksonville.

Minnesota comes in conceding 4.8 yards per carry—ranked 31st in the NFL—but conceded only three runs of 20 yards or more.

Shanahan credited the Vikings’ defensive style under coach Mike Zimmer, which often included two deep safaris and a reluctance to box extra men.

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49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (57) celebrates a 57-yard touchdown return against Detroit in Week 1. Getty Images

“They keep everything in the box,” Shanahan said. “They play a two-shell defense, probably more than anyone. Their outside corners do a good job of funneling in from the inside. As long as the backs go past the line of the scuffle, they cover 2 safari five yards.” It’s hard to run against eight-man fronts, but if you find one man (row ahead) in an eight-man front, there’s only one man left and there’s plenty of space. Two-shell One Umbrella is like.:”

Minnesota is thin with the offensive line, with Everson Griffen out and dealing with a personal case, Danielle Hunter with a torn pectoral muscle and defensive tackle Dalwyn Tomlinson off the COVID-19 list for the season earlier this month .

Greenlaw, Ford decisions Saturday

Linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Edge Rasher de Ford were back in practice this week and out of injured reserve, but Shanahan said the 49ers would not announce until Saturday if they would return to the 53-man roster and face the Vikings. will be available for

“Hopefully, but we’ll put it on hold until tomorrow to decide for sure,” Shanahan said.

Greenlaw has not played since the 49ers’ opening game against Detroit due to a core muscle injury. In the second quarter of that game, Greenlaw returned a 39-yard interception for a touchdown against Jared Goff, giving the 49ers a 28–10 lead in a game they would win 41–33. His place is filled by third-year linebacker Aziz Al-Shayer, who called the rematch against Arizona one of the worst games of his career, but played better in the last two games against the Rams and Jaguars.

Ford, who has played 18 of 49 games since being acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the 2019 season, has been ruled out with a back injury and was placed on injured reserve on November 6. He last played on 24 October. In a 30–18 loss to Indianapolis, receiving 17 snaps.

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