Michael Crabtree is finally making his preseason debut.

Going into his fourth year in the NFL, Crabtree is 0 for 12 when it comes to appearing in preseason games, but that will change Friday when the 49ers open their preseason schedule at home against the Minnesota Vikings.

Coach Jim Harbaugh announced Thursday that Crabtree and Ted Ginn Jr. will start at WR.

Ginn's inclusion in the starting lineup might be considered somewhat of a surprise, but Ginn has been one of the team's most reliable players in camp.

"He's catching the ball, he's blocking, he's playing all the positions," Harbaugh said. "He's doing it all."

Randy Moss' omission isn't an indication anything is wrong with the newly signed WR. Harbaugh said he'll play too.

Williams to return punts: After fumbling two punts in last year's NFC Championship, it would have been easy for Kyle Williams to give up on punt-return duties. That's not going to be the case.

Asked if Williams would return punts against the Vikings, Harbaugh said: "Most definitely. It's part of the depth chart. He returns punts for us."

Dixon progressing at FB: Anthony Dixon is adjusting well to his new role as a fullback. He'll see time after Bruce Miller against the Vikings in that capacity but will play some RB.

"[Dixon] takes a lot of pride in his personal performance and now he has two roles, three roles [including special teams]," Harbaugh said. "There's a lot of carryover from running back to fullback. It'll be great to see him in that role Friday night. he's one of those individuals that you look forward to watch playing as a coach."

Follow 49ers reporter Kyle Bonagura on Twitter: @CBSSportsNFLSF and @KyleBonagura.

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