4 silver linings from the Panthers’ loss at Vikings in Week 12

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey is back soon

It was hard to pick out silver linings from such a demoralizing loss, so the fact Christian McCaffrey is now one week closer to return can be a major positive. The star running back has missed all but 3.5 games this season and there is little doubt his presence in the backfield would have been enough to get them over the line at the Vikings.

McCaffrey didn’t end up making the trip to Minnesota after the Carolina Panthers decided not to risk his shoulder problem. The All-Pro will now get a good period of rest before inevitably returning against the Denver Broncos in Week 14.

Although the organization will be extra-cautious with their best weapon. He is sure to be chomping at the bit to make a lasting contribution down the stretch.

Carolina actually ran the ball well in the first half at the Vikings. Mike Davis, Trenton Cannon, and Rodney Smith all had nice moments until offensive coordinator Joe Brady just completely went away from what was working in favor of throwing the ball more.

That wouldn’t have happened if McCaffrey was available.

Just having McCaffrey on the field changes the dynamic, whether he gets the football or not. The Panthers have a long period of reflection after such a dismal loss and the prospect of the best dual-threat back in the league making another welcome return should help them considerably.