San Francisco 49ers

49ers trade center Easton to Vikings for linebacker Hodges

Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Gerald Hodges (50) celebrates a stop against the Detroit Lions in the first half of an NFL football game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015.
Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Gerald Hodges (50) celebrates a stop against the Detroit Lions in the first half of an NFL football game in Minneapolis, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. AP

The 49ers traded center Nick Easton to the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday for inside linebacker Gerald Hodges.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 49ers also will send a sixth-round pick to the Vikings.

Hodges and Easton must pass physicals for the trade to be finalized.

Hodges was a fourth-round pick from Penn State in 2013. He started three of Minnesota’s first four games this season, including the opener against the 49ers in which he had eight tackles. The Vikings gave up 395 yards, including 230 on the ground.

The 49ers’ starters at inside linebacker have been NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite. Hodges and Bowman were teammates at Penn State in 2009, and Hodges took over Bowman’s starting spot after he was drafted by the 49ers the following year. Hodges started his Penn State career as a safety, and his coverage skills likely appeal to the 49ers.

Shayne Skov and Nick Bellore are San Francisco’s reserve inside linebackers and are on the special-teams coverage units.

The 49ers acquired Easton from the Baltimore Ravens before the season for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Easton had been active the last two games but did not play on offense. Coach Jim Tomsula on Monday said the 49ers considered Easton a center only.

Marcus Martin is the starter at center. Rookie Ian Silberman played the position in training camp and ostensibly could fill in until Daniel Kilgore (leg) comes off the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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