The Carolina Panthers began the 2021 season 3-0 but have dropped their last two games against the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s hard not to wonder if there’s a direct correlation between the team’s success and star running back Christian McCaffrey being on the field.
McCaffrey went down with a hamstring injury early in the Panthers’ third game against the Houston Texas and hasn’t been able to get healthy enough to play over the last few weeks. Rookie Chuba Hubbard has filled in as the lead running back admirably, but hasn’t given Carolina’s offense the same pop as the multi-time All-Pro.
Thankfully for head coach Matt Rhule, McCaffrey appears to be one step close to playing this upcoming weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.
The 25-year-old was limited in practice again Wednesday, but it seems like the team has more faith in him being available then it did last week. According to Darin Gantt of the Panthers’ team website, Rhule said Wednesday afternoon that McCaffrey is “50-50” to play against the Vikings.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said any decision on Christian McCaffrey would come down to Sunday. Says it could go either way. “Probably 50-50 on Christian."
— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) October 13, 2021
It’s no secret that Rhule and the Panthers will be desperately hoping that McCaffrey can suit up on Sunday. The former No. 8 overall pick is the engine that make Carolina’s offense go and opens up the number of things that the unit can do.
McCaffrey has proved that over the course of his 4+ seasons in the NFL. Already in 2021, he racked up 364 total yards and a touchdown in a little more than two games before his injury.
The Vikings defense has plenty of points to exploit and McCaffery would give the Panthers the best chance to do so successfully. If he can’t take the field on Sunday, Rhule will need to turn to Hubbard once again.
Carolina will try to end its two game skid against Minnesota on Sunday at 1 p.m ET.