Harrison Smith: Vikings defense 'terrible' vs. 49ers

Vikings safety Harrison Smith's review of Sunday night's defensive performance against the 49ers was pretty simple.

"Terrible," Smith said, via the Star-Tribune. "You know, we kind of turned it on after we got hit in the mouth a few times. You can't start like that. You can't give up 14 points that easy."

As I wrote in Sunday's What We Learned, 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer looked spectacular. He had a perfect passer rating for the majority of the half and completed his first nine passes -- two of them for touchdowns. Facing a Kyle Shanahan offense, the Vikings' starting defensive unit resembled a tired boxer being trapped by a more experienced opponent. A 46-yard touchdown to speedy wideout Marquise Goodwin served as a knockout blow of sorts.

Given how tattered Minnesota looked across its offensive line as well, this was not the type of morale-boosting third preseason game the Vikings were searching for in their most realistic tune up. It's no secret that teams sneak more into this gameplan than any other preseason contest and the facts -- Minnesota trailed 14-0 at the half, beat up by a surprisingly physical 49ers team -- speak for themselves.

After Minnesota crashed back to earth in 2016, the cracks exposed in its foundation have yet to be sealed. The offensive line is still struggling. Quarterback Sam Bradford is still pushing to develop some of his young receivers in time. Smith knows that his star-studded defense is built to carry the weight, but after Sunday's performance it seems there is still some work to do.

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