Quinton Patton's left index finger healed and, for one game at last, so did the 49ers' wide-receiving woes.
Playing in his first-ever NFL game, Patton caught two passes on a long touchdown drive in the first quarter, the second a five-yard snag in the back of the end zone. Meanwhile, a 49ers special teams that stumbled in Kansas City on Aug. 16 bounded back with a 105-yard kickoff return by Lavelle Hawkins against the Vikings, and San Francisco leads 20-7 at the half.
Colin Kaepernick, who left the first two preseason games after one series, stayed in for three against the Vikings. His third was the best of the summer so far for the 49ers. Starting from the 16-yard line, Kaepernick hit Vernon Davis twice, Marlon Moore twice and Patton twice on an 84-yard drive.
Patton's first catch, for 19 yards, came on a dart up the seam from Kaepernick. His second, a five yarder, went for a touchdown when Kaepernick found Patton streaking across the back of the end zone a half step in front of cornerback Josh Robinson. Patton broke his finger on a Colt McCoy pass before training camp. He's been able to run routes, but only could catch passes one handed.
Moore, who started for the third time this summer, had three catches for 32 yards in the first half to lead the 49ers. Patton has three for 29 yards. Running back Kendall Hunter gained 15 yards on his first carry of the preseason.
The 49ers' first score, a 30-yard field goal by Phil Dawson, was set up when Ahmad Brooks stripped Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder of the ball and it was recovered by Aldon Smith at the 11-yard line. Dawson also hit a 50 yarder at the end of the half, his third from 50 or longer this preseason.
As forecast by Jim Harbaugh, Colt McCoy entered the game after Kaepernick and had thrown for two first downs - to Moore and Chad Hall - and run for another. However, linebacker Chad Greenway dropped into coverage on a quick pass intended to Patton and picked it off. It was McCoy's third interception of the preseason; the 49ers are entertaining trade offers for the backup quarterback.
The only 49ers receivers who entered the game in the first half were Anquan Boldin, Moore, Patton, Hall and newcomer Jon Baldwin. Their snaps were divided as follows ...
-- Matt Barrows