SAN FRANCISCO -- Candlestick Park's final exhibition game produced a flood of reassuring moments for the 49ers in Sunday night's 34-14 rout of the Minnesota Vikings.
Defensive dominance, a special-teams touchdown and Colin Kaepernick's closing spree of completions shared the spotlight.
Then came the showstopper: coach Jim Harbaugh's endorsement of Colt McCoy as the No. 2 quarterback.
"I feel real good right now that Colt's the backup," Harbaugh said. "Tonight, down after down, he was consistently good, and that's what we were looking for."
McCoy sounded confident in his status despite an NFL.com report earlier in the day that he might get traded. McCoy confirmed he restructured his contract Saturday night, but he wouldn't says if, as reported, he had his base salary slashed from $1.5 million to the league minimum of $630,000.
McCoy replaced Kaepernick in the second quarter and played into the fourth, finishing out a 91-yard touchdown drive. He was 11 of 15 for 109 yards with no touchdown passes and an interception for the third straight game.
"Jim and I had a great week, talked a lot, met a lot," McCoy said. "We've figured each other out a lot better, and I've played better."
McCoy said he didn't feel his job threatened with Thursday's signing of a fifth quarterback: veteran Seneca Wallace, who played the final three snaps Sunday. Also in the bullpen were B.J. Daniels, who produced an 8-minute touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, and Scott Tolzien, who did not play, reportedly because of back spasms.
The backup QB race will be moot if Kaepernick finishes as strong and healthy as he did Sunday. Kaepernick (7 of 13, 72 yards) played only in the first quarter (three series) and exited after an 84-yard touchdown drive.
Kaepernick completed his final six passes, including a 5-yard touchdown strike to rookie Quinton Patton. That ending overshadowed a rusty start: Kaepernick's only completion among his first seven passes was a 4-yard, shovel toss to Chad Hall.
Kaepernick has played only 33 snaps in three exhibitions, and Harbaugh said he's planning to play him in Thursday's exhibition finale at San Diego, adding, "That's subject to change." Kaepernick said he is ready for the Sept. 8 season opener but willing to play Thursday.
The 49ers defense looked in regular-season form, starting with a first-series turnover on Ahmad Brooks' sack and Aldon Smith's fumble recovery. Defensive tackle Justin Smith "had a burr in his saddle or something," Harbaugh said in reference to Smith's body-slamming Toby Gerhart for a 4-yard loss on third-and-one.
Both Smiths and most of the other starters were out of the game by the time the Vikings scored, doing so on a 1-yard catch by Zach Line 3 minutes before halftime. That touchdown pass followed a Perrish Cox pass-interference penalty in the end zone, and Cox later gave up a 7-yard, third-quarter touchdown catch to Joe Webb.
"He's definitely got to do a better job of not getting emotionally hijacked after doing something great," Harbaugh said.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he'll likely ask the league to review the play for potential discipline on Looney, noting that his assistants were "pretty upset when they saw it."
49ers (2-1) at San Diego 1-2), 7 p.m. KPIX