Vikings bring hometown crowd to see 49ers QB Trey Lance

Aug 18, 2022, 2:41 AM | Updated: 2:45 pm

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance takes part in drills during a joint practice with the Mi...

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance takes part in drills during a joint practice with the Minnesota Vikings at NFL football training camp in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The buses bound for the Twin Cities left southwestern Minnesota at 6:30 a.m. sharp, carrying the biggest Trey Lance fans that San Francisco’s young quarterback will ever meet.

Players and staff from the Marshall Tigers football team — the team Lance led as a prep star just five years ago — attended the joint 49ers-Vikings practice Thursday, with more than 100 guests from his hometown flanking the practice fields in orange and black T-shirts.

“The kids are all wearing Marshall today, but they all have their Trey Lance jerseys in their bag ready to go,” said Tigers head coach Terry Bahlmann, whose son played baseball with Lance in the backyard, the two families living a block apart.

The Vikings covered the team’s 150-mile ride from the prairie town of 13,000 people to the team’s sprawling suburban headquarters, where Lance and the 49ers worked out against the Vikings for a second straight day. The third overall selection in the 2021 draft picked up the tab for all of their meals.

Bahlmann also wanted to make sure his team didn’t skip a practice, so the Vikings helped arrange for the Tigers to use the fields at nearby Eagan High School before returning home.

Lance became a quarterback in eighth grade when the Tigers needed a backup, and that’s where this journey began in earnest.

“When Trey wants to do something, he puts his mind to it,” Bahlmann said.

After taking Marshall to the Class 4A state tournament, Lance had FBS schools considering him at safety or linebacker. Adamant about remaining a quarterback, he picked FCS power North Dakota State. Lance had only one full season as the starter there, because the pandemic wiped out the 2020 schedule, but his big arm and fast feet were too appealing for the 49ers to pass up.

Lance’s rise to second-year starter on a confident, talented 49ers team that finished a few points short of the Super Bowl last season came full circle this week with his old high school watching him throw passes across the field for his current NFL team.

“That was always the dream, but it happened fast,” Lance said.

After Jimmy Garoppolo helped guide the 49ers to the NFC championship game, where they led the Super Bowl champion Rams midway through the fourth quarter, the decision was made to move on from the nine-year veteran and turn over the offense to Lance.

In the preseason opener against Green Bay, Lance finished one of his two series with a 76-yard touchdown pass. He is not expected to play Saturday against the Vikings.

“Things have slowed down a lot, both mentally and physically,” Lance said. “I feel like I’m in a much better spot at both ends.”

The 49ers have repeatedly expressed faith in his ability to handle the job despite the little experience.

“I’ve seen him continually make strides every day,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “I’ve seen him poised in the pocket, getting through his reads, not getting chatter feet and just looking for somewhere to run. That’s all we can ask for. He’s going to continue to improve, and we’ve got a ton of confidence in the kid.”

The Vikings gave Lance and his offensive line plenty of valuable practice, particularly facing outside linebackers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith. Williams has been an offseason training partner with Hunter for several years, and the nine-time Pro Bowl pick shared with reporters an amusing perspective on their relationship.

In head-to-head matchups in 2016 and 2017 while Williams played for Washington, Hunter used some of Williams’ tips against him.

“We used to get together after a workout, and I would kind of go through what we think on this side and what he should be thinking and he gave me those same type of jewels,” Williams said with a smile. “I kind of regret doing that sometimes, but he’s a great friend of mine. He’s an outstanding player. He definitely makes us better.”


More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Vikings bring hometown crowd to see 49ers QB Trey Lance