Kyle Shanahan on Friday said the battle between Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard to be the 49ers’ top backup is ongoing but that Beathard, the rookie, will be the No. 2 quarterback Sunday against Minnesota.

Beathard, a third-round pick in April, also had that role Saturday in Denver, completing 7-12 passes for 110 yards, a touchdown and a 116. 7 passer rating.

“I’ve seen Barkley play in the NFL before,” Shanahan said of the fifth-year player. “I’d like to see C.J. do it a little more.”

After Eli Harold won the competition with Ahmad Brooks at strong-side linebacker, the duel to be San Francisco’s No. 2 quarterback has become perhaps the most interesting one of the 49ers’ preseason. Barkley and Beathard have been splitting the second-team repetitions in practice and the competition could be decided in the fourth preseason game when the starters won’t play very long if at all.

“It’s just another opportunity to get better,” Beathard said. “Whether it’s second-, third-, fourth- (team) or whatever, all you can do is your best when you go in there. And that’s all I’m trying to do.”

Beathard got more good news Friday when he learned his grandfather, former NFL general manager Bobby Beathard, was a finalist in the contributor category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Asked if it’s something his grandfather was hoping for, Beathard said, “He would say, no. I don’t think he cares about the accolades or anything like that. (But) everyone that knows him knows he should be in there and wants him there.”

Ward won’t play — Shanahan said free safety Jimmie Ward, who is being eased into practice following a hamstring strain, will not play in Sunday’s game. Rookie Lorenzo Jerome likely will make his third straight start.

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