SAN FRANCISCO -- Colin Kaepernick safely made it through the exhibition season, assuming the 49ers stash their franchise quarterback on the sideline for Thursday's exhibition finale at San Diego.
Kaepernick completed his final six passes of Sunday night's exhibition against the Minnesota Vikings, culminating with a 5-yard touchdown pass to rookie Quinton Patton.
Kaepernick's only completion on his first seven passes was a shovel pass to Chad Hall in the backfield for a 4-yard gain.
But Kaepernick then completed his next six passes for 68 yards, finishing the night 7 of 13 for 72 yards with the one touchdown and a 95.7 passer rating. He had no carries.
Kaepernick played only 33 snaps through the 49ers' first three exhibitions, a limited role meant to protect him and also search for his best understudy.
Patton, a fourth-round draft pick, made his exhibition debut and showed instant chemistry with Kaepernick, starting with their own special handshake during warm-ups (two hand slaps, then a salute). On their touchdown drive, Kaepernick hit Patton for a 19-yard gain on third-and-10. Their touchdown came as Kaepernick rolled to his right and found Patton on third-and-four.
Kaepernick had been limited to one-series cameos in the 49ers' first two exhibitions, consisting of 12 snaps against the Denver Broncos and four at the Kansas City Chiefs.
Colt McCoy was the first of the 49ers' four backups to replace Kaepernick, and McCoy's initial series ended with his third interception in as many exhibitions.