3 Panthers position groups that must step up vs. the Vikings in Week 6

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard /

Carolina Panthers RBs

Chuba Hubbard crossed the 100-yard mark on 24 rushing attempts in last week’s contest against the Philadelphia Eagles. Royce Freeman even made an appearance with three rushing attempts and one pass caught.

It is paramount this unit continues to produce so there is no rush to bring back the injured Christian McCaffrey any sooner than necessary.

McCaffrey is a competitor and wants to strap on his helmet. But with a string of injuries this season and last, the Carolina Panthers medical staff must ensure he truly is back to 100 percent before stepping on the field again.

As the offense’s most valuable and versatile asset, the Panthers cannot afford to bring him back too early and risk aggravating an injury. McCaffrey practiced on Wednesday but wasn’t seen in any capacity over the following two days, which leaves more than a few reasons to be concerned as he gets set to miss his 16th game in the last 22.

If Hubbard can average 4.21 yards again this week and Freeman can step in when necessary, the pressure to play McCaffrey before he is ready will subside.

If a postseason appearance is a possibility, it will require a fully healthy McCaffrey. And the Minnesota Vikings’ run defense hasn’t been much to shout about this season.