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49ers star Trent Williams on Vikings’ Christian Darrisaw: ‘I do see a lot of myself in him’

Darrisaw has drawn comparisons to a young Williams, including from the star himself

Vikings left tackle Christian Darrisaw missed his rookie training camp last year because of a sports hernia.
Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune / TNS
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EAGAN, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings left tackle Christian Darrisaw has drawn comparisons to a young Trent Williams, including from the San Francisco star himself.

Williams, a nine-time Pro Bowl pick at left tackle, was put in contact earlier this year with Darrisaw and the two have had a number of phone conversations. On Wednesday, before the Vikings and 49ers took the field for the first of two days of joint practices at the TCO Performance Center, they met for the first time.

“I love C.D.,’’ Williams said Thursday about the second-year pro. “He’s a great kid. He’s open and willing to learning. He’s physically gifted. … I do see a lot of myself in him, especially the young Trent.”

Williams played for Washington from 2010-18 and is entering his third 49ers season. Darrisaw grew up in the Washington area and said Wednesday that Williams was his “favorite player.” He said it’s been beneficial getting tips from the future hall of famer.

“Our conversations are me just kind of helping him morph into a more consistent professional,’’ Williams said. “He took a huge leap from year one to year two. And it’s just the little things. He’s such an athlete that he overlooks the technical part of the game because he can just wake up and win (with his blocking).”


Williams said he also has gotten by at times with his athletic ability.

“That’s how I got through college (at Oklahoma), that’s how I got through my first three or four years in the NFL,’’ he said. “I still have bad habits going back to that, so that’s all I’m working on (Darrisaw) about, just kind of letting him know what’s to come, what changes to make and what could help him.”

Reed at center?

Despite Chris Reed sitting out last Sunday’s preseason opener at Las Vegas and the joint practices with a right elbow injury, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said he remains a candidate to start at center.

Reed, who entered the NFL in 2015 out of Minnesota State Mankato, only has played guard in the regular season but has gotten a good bit of preseason work at center. Garrett Bradbury is the returning starter, but O’Connell has not guaranteed he will open the season in that role.

“(Reed is) definitely still in the mix, obviously, at center and guard,’’ O’Connell said.

Pro Football Focus ranked Darrisaw as the Vikings’ top run blocker in the game against Detroit. And according to ESPN, Darrisaw is the fourth-best tackle in the NFL this season in its run-block ratings.
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There is competition at right guard. Jesse Davis is first on the depth chart and started the 26-20 loss to the Raiders. But rookie Ed Ingram worked with the first team both days of the joint practices, including when Davis sat out Thursday to apparently rest a surgically repaired knee.

It’s uncertain if Reed will play in Saturday’s preseason game between the Vikings and 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Regardless, Reed said his elbow is “not a problem,” and he expects to practice next week.

“I think I’m in the mix (to start at center),’’ said Reed, who made note of having played center in the preseason for Jacksonville, Miami, Carolina and Indianapolis. “I just got to get back out there.”


Smith doing well

O’Connell said tight end Irv Smith Jr., who underwent right thumb surgery Aug. 2 after being hurt Aug. 1 in practice, remains on track to return for the Sept. 11 opener against Green Bay.

“Everything with Irv has been really positive,’’ said O’Connell, who said Smith is doing well with conditioning and should resume catching in “a few more days.”


O’Connell said the joint practices went well and can take the place of key players being “exposed to a little more injury” in preseason games. He wouldn’t say which starters might play Saturday. … Also not practicing Thursday were running back Ty Chandler (rolled ankle), cornerback Parry Nickerson (lower leg muscle) and receiver Dan Chisena (lower leg). O’Connell is hopeful Chandler and Nickerson will play Saturday. … Guard Alex Boone, who played six years for the 49ers and was with Minnesota in 2016, attended the practices. Boone, who retired from the NFL in 2020, said he now weighs 240 pounds, 85 less than as a player, and will take part in IRONMAN Wisconsin on Sept. 11 in Madison.


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