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Panthers HC Rhule 'Hopeful' Christian McCaffrey Will Return from Injury vs. Vikings

Erin WalshOctober 11, 2021

Tim Warner/Getty Images

Fantasy football managers who have Christian McCaffrey should keep a close eye on the Carolina Panthers All-Pro running back entering Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season. 

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters Monday he's "hopeful" McCaffrey will play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, according to Pro Football Talk's Myles Simmons.

McCaffrey injured his hamstring in a Week 3 win over the Houston Texans and hasn't played since. He had a chance to play in Sunday's 21-18 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Panthers opted to sideline him another week. 

The 25-year-old was a limited participant in practice last week, and his participation in drills this week will likely determine if he plays against the Vikings. 

McCaffrey has 52 carries for 201 yards and one touchdown in three games this season. He also has 16 catches for 163 yards on 17 targets. 

After going down with the hamstring injury, McCaffrey admitted he was frustrated after missing 13 games last season with various injuries. He emphasized how much he dislikes Thursday night matchups. 

"It was extremely frustrating,'' McCafrrey said, according to ESPN's David Newton. "I don't prefer Thursday night games. You go through a lot in a football game. You really get two days to recover, and one of those days is a travel day.

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"You hop on a plane, you're in a hotel, and you go out and play in a football game. It's really tough. It is what it is. It's part of the game."

With McCaffrey sidelined, rookie Chuba Hubbard has started at running back the last two weeks. The Oklahoma State product had his best game of the season against the Eagles on Sunday, rushing for 101 yards on 24 carries, in addition to catching five passes for 33 yards.

Veteran Royce Freeman also saw time at running back against Philadelphia but only managed two yards on three carries.

The Panthers are second in the NFC South with a 3-2 record, losing their last two games with McCaffrey sidelined.

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