Peterson plays two snaps, Vikings drop third preseason game to 49ers
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SAN FRANCISCO -- After a week of long practices as the Vikings tried to get their stagnant offense on a roll, there were considerable strides.
Christian Ponder threw a pair of touchdown passes while playing three quarters.
He connected on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Zach Line late in the first half for the quarterback's first TD completion of the preseason, then threw an interception in Minnesota's final series before halftime. In the Vikings' opening drive of the second half, Ponder hit Joe Webb with a 3-yard scoring pass.
Reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson didn't touch the ball in one series of action for Minnesota, making his preseason debut -- and first appearance in the exhibition schedule since 2011 -- as he begins a year in which he will try to become the first player with consecutive 2,000-yard rushing seasons.
Ponder went 17 of 23 for 116 yards, a step up after two unimpressive outings and a 28.3 passer rating in his first two exhibition games.
This hardly looked like the Vikings' group that handed the NFC champion Niners their first loss last fall, a 24-13 victory Sept. 23 in Minneapolis.
On the third play of the game, Ponder fumbled and gave the 49ers the ball at the Vikings 11.
Ahmad Brooks swiped the ball away and Aldon Smith recovered.
San Francisco then went ahead on a 30-yard field goal by Phil Dawson, who added a 50-yarder before halftime.
Colin Kaepernick began the game 1 for 7, then converted his next six pass attempts during that touchdown drive -- including four in a row of 10 or more yards. Vernon Davis caught back-to-back receptions of 10 and 11 yards, and Patton and Marlon Moore each had two receptions in the series.