Protecting against sacks key for 49ers this week

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Alex Smith and the San Francisco 49ers understand the value of taking a sack.

Smith was sacked more than any other NFL quarterback last season and is on a pace to be dropped even more times this year. But that hasn't stopped the San Francisco offense from thriving during the team's 2-0 start.

While Smith already has been sacked seven times, San Francisco's offense has yet to make a turnover and is averaging 363 yards per game -- 155.5 yards more than the 49ers averaged after two games last season.

But protecting both the football and their quarterback are primary concerns for the 49ers this week when they play the Minnesota Vikings, who tied for the NFL lead in sacks last season.