SAN FRANCISCO The 49ers, who allowed a 104-yard kickoff return in their previous outing, bounced back Sunday with a 105-yarder by Lavelle Hawkins against the Vikings.
Before he high-stepped across the goal line, however, officials threw flags at Hawkins for taunting. The backup wide receiver from Edison High School in Stockton also was penalized for removing his helmet on the play, a double whammy that drew harsh words from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on the sideline.
Hawkins wasn't finished.
Following a 22-yard catch down the sideline from B.J. Daniels in the fourth quarter, he flipped the ball at the feet of safety Mistral Raymond and then head-butted linebacker Desmond Bishop, drawing a 15-yard penalty.
"He's definitely got to do a better job of not getting emotionally hijacked after doing something great," Harbaugh said after the game.
Still, Hawkins' return highlighted a strong outing for the special teams, one of the 49ers' focuses of the team's offseason maneuvers.
Kicker Phil Dawson struck a 50-yard field goal at the end of the first half, his third from 50 or longer this preseason. The coverage units also played well, with safety Craig Dahl leading the way with two special-teams tackles. The Vikings' average kickoff return was 20.8 yards.
Rookie review Free safety Eric Reid, the 49ers' first-round draft pick, made his first start and was challenged right away.
On the Vikings' first snap, quarterback Christian Ponder threw a 50-yard pass to wide receiver Greg Jennings, who was being shadowed by Reid. The ball fell incomplete.
Reid played through the first half, even after the rest of the first-string defense went to the bench in the second quarter. He finished with two tackles and had a big hit on a punt return. Dahl started the first two preseason games at free safety.
Nnamdi No. 3 Nnamdi Asomugha was the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback in the game and played well. He had Vikings wideout Jerome Simpson blanketed on third down early in the game, which led to Ahmad Brooks' strip of Ponder and Aldon Smith's fumble recovery.
Asomugha also deflected a short pass from Ponder that was intercepted by safety C.J. Spillman. Chris Culliver has served as the No. 3 cornerback for the last two seasons but is out for the year with an ACL tear.
The No. 3 cornerback has played more than 60 percent of the defensive snaps in recent seasons and promises to be on the field often in Week 1 against Green Bay.
Et cetera Wide receiver Austin Collie (Oak Ridge High School) did not enter the game until 20 seconds remained in the third quarter. He finished with one catch for eight yards in the fourth quarter.
Wide receiver Kyle Williams likely will make the 53-man roster, but he did not play Sunday and has yet to suit up in the preseason. Williams is returning from an ACL tear suffered in November. Inside linebacker Nate Stupar (arm) also did not play.
Running back LaMichael James injured his elbow on his final carry of the game, a five-yard gain. Harbaugh said it was not serious. Meanwhile, outside linebacker Cam Johnson left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return. Defensive end Lawrence Okoye injured his knee. Okoye said it was not serious.