The Vikings are playing the Panthers next week, and both sides are worried about the status of their starting running back.
While the news doesn’t appear as dire in Carolina, Panthers coach Ron Rivera admitted after the game he was “a little bit” concerned about the status of Jonathan Stewart, who left with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and didn’t return.
The Panthers got through the day well, with backup Fozzy Whittaker rushing for his first 100-yard game in the NFL, but he’s more of a change-of-pace back, rather than the physical inside runner Stewart is.
The Panthers also had to hand the ball to fullback Mike Tolbert more than normal, as Cameron-Artis Payne was inactive.
“I have no qualms with having him ready to roll,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of Artis-Payne, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review.
The Panthers, who for so long spent too much money on running backs, are now in a position of hoping for outlier performances, or trusting untested kids. Artis-Payne had 45 carries last year, as the fifth-round rookie from Auburn showed hints of competence.