The Carolina Panthers aren’t the only NFC team dealing with an injured running back. So is their Week 3 opponent.
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that seven-time Pro Bowler and former league MVP Adrian Peterson has a torn meniscus and gave no timetable for his return. Medical experts dismissed the notion that Peterson could play this week when Minnesota visits Carolina.
This would be the second time in three seasons the Panthers faced a Vikings team missing Peterson, who was out for a 31-13 victory against Carolina in 2014 while serving a suspension that stemmed from a child abuse case.
“He’s a stud. I think he’s one of the best guys I’ve ever seen play at that spot,” Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “He’s a physical back. The last time we played them, though, they didn’t have him and they beat us.”
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The Vikings returned two blocked punts for touchdowns against Carolina two years ago in a game played in frigid conditions at the University of Minnesota while the team’s new indoor stadium was being built.
Minnesota likely would split reps between reserve backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata.
The Panthers held Asiata to 52 yards on 14 carries, with a long run of 8 yards, in 2014. But Kuechly cautioned against overlooking the 5-11, 229-pounder.
“Asiata’s pretty good. He’s physical,” Kuechly said. “He’s got good size, I remember from last time. He’s a good player.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who worked with Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner in San Diego, doesn’t expect the ex-Chargers coach to stray from his play-calling roots – with or without Peterson.
“From my time with Norv, he’s going to do what he does,” Rivera said. “He’s going to call the game how he sees it fit and he’ll game-plan against us where he thinks he can attack you.”