Anthony Zettel

Anthony Zettel leaves 49ers, signs with Vikings in NFL free agency

Anthony Zettel leaves 49ers, signs with Vikings in NFL free agency

Defensive lineman Anthony Zettel, a late-season pickup for the 49ers, agreed to terms Wednesday with the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced.

The 49ers signed Zettel on Dec. 23 after experiencing depth issues on the team’s defensive line. San Francisco released Jeremiah Valoaga, who played in four games for the 49ers, to make room for Zettel.

Zettel saw action in the 49ers’ final regular-season game, then played a backup role in each of the team’s three postseason games. Zettel played 15 snaps on defense and 13 plays on special teams in the 49ers’ 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers signed Zettel as a free agent on Dec. 23, a week after the Cincinnati Bengals released him. Zettel played for 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek when they were both with the Detroit Lions.

The 49ers also lost backup nose tackle Sheldon Day on Wednesday, as he signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

[RELATEDReport: 49ers went after Suh, who's going to Bucs instead]

The 49ers announced the official signing of defensive lineman Kerry Hyder on Wednesday. Hyder played with the Dallas Cowboys last season. His best season came in 2016 when he registered eight sacks with the Lions with Kocurek as his position coach.

49ers free agents: Six under-the-radar players ready for open market

49ers free agents: Six under-the-radar players ready for open market

Editor's note: This is the final installment of a series in which we examined the 49ers’ scheduled free agents. We conclude with a look at the team’s under-the-radar free agents and those who have already retired.

Jason Verrett, CB

The 49ers took a calculated gamble last offseason that Verrett could remain healthy. He did not.

Verrett entered the Week 3 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and was beaten badly for a TD. He was removed from the game and went on season-ending injured reserve due to knee issues.

The 49ers should have a handle on the extent of his physical issues after he was in the building for the season. But it seems reasonable that the 49ers gave it a shot for one season and do not have to give it another try.

Shon Coleman, OT

The 49ers sent a seventh-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns at the start of the 2018 regular season to acquire Coleman. He was inactive for his entire first season with the 49ers.

A year ago, he was projected to be the team’s swing tackle. But he sustained a fractured right fibula and dislocated ankle in the team’s first preseason game. Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill took over as the team’s backup tackles behind Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey.

If the 49ers were impressed by what the saw from Coleman on the practice field and meetings, they could bring him back on a one-year deal.

Damontre Moore, DE

Moore had a really good training camp and was the last cut before the start of the regular season. The team struggled with that decision. Somewhat surprisingly, no other NFL team picked up Moore.

He was still available when Ronald Blair sustained with a season-ending ACL tear. (Blair is scheduled for free agency, too.) Moore immediately stepped into a spot in the 49ers’ D-line rotation. But his season came to a quick end with a fractured forearm.

Jordan Matthews, WR

The 49ers made a mini-splash by signing Matthews last offseason. He was cut before the start of the regular season, then went to his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, for a couple of games before he was let go. 

San Francisco had Matthews for a couple of stints during the season. He appeared in one game and did not catch a pass. The 49ers can go in another direction this offseason.

Dontae Johnson, CB

Johnson appeared in seven games last season while bouncing on and off the roster. Johnson is not a bad insurance policy to have in the back pocket to step onto the field in a pinch.

There is no urgency to re-sign him, but he definitely is an option to be with the club in the offseason for competition and insurance.

Anthony Zettel, DE

Backups Blair and Moore were injured, and Jeremiah Valoaga did not give the 49ers what they wanted. So the 49ers signed Zettel in late-December. Defensive line coach Kris Kocurek had experience with Zettel from their days together with the Detroit Lions.

Zettel ultimately played 15 snaps in Super Bowl LIV, but the 49ers can certain look for other backup options with more upside.

Garrett Celek, TE

Celek Time has come to an end. The popular backup tight end announced his retirement this offseason after experiencing back issues in recent seasons.

He played eight seasons with the club after signing as an undrafted rookie in 2012 from Michigan State. Celek concluded his career with 82 receptions for 1,104 yards and 12 touchdowns. George Kittle, Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo, who is scheduled for free agency, were on the 49ers' roster as tight ends last season.

[RELATED: 49ers should target these five offensive players]

Earl Mitchell, NT

Mitchell came out of retirement to play for the 49ers down the stretch after D.J. Jones was placed on injured reserve. Mitchell had a limited role as a rotational player in the playoffs.

After playing 19 snaps in the Super Bowl behind starter Sheldon Day, Mitchell said he decided to step away from the game permanently. Mitchell, 32, played nine NFL seasons.

49ers sign defensive end Anthony Zettel for depth, waive Jeremiah Valoaga

49ers sign defensive end Anthony Zettel for depth, waive Jeremiah Valoaga

The 49ers made a change to their defensive line depth on Monday.

The club signed defensive lineman Anthony Zettel to a one-year deal and waived defensive lineman Jeremiah Valoaga. Zettel is expected to step in immediately as a backup for the 49ers' Week 17 game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.

Zettel (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) was a sixth-round pick of the Detroit Lions in the 2016 NFL Draft, where he played under 49ers defensive-line coach Kris Kocurek. In his four-year career with the Lions, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Zettel has appeared in 48 games with 16 starts. He has 75 career tackles and 7.5 sacks.

[RELATED: Carroll says he expects Clowney to play in Seahawks-49ers]

Zettel, who played his college ball at Penn State, appeared in four games with the Bengals this season before he was waived on Dec. 17.

Valoaga played in four games this season for the 49ers after being promoted from the practice squad in late-November. He played 19 snaps in the 49ers’ 34-31 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage.