Panthers' duo could turn singular

The Panthers have one of the best 1-2 punches at running back, but that tandem could be limited if power back Jonathan Stewart can't play.

One of the bigger concerns among Vikings defensive players heading into Sunday night's game at Carolina is the two-headed backfield of the Panthers – speedy DeAngelo Williams and power back Jonathan Stewart. However, word out of Carolina is that Stewart may end up being a game-time decision.

Stewart didn't practice Wednesday with a turf toe injury and his status for Sunday's game is in question at this point. That would be good news for the Vikings, since the tandem is among the best in the league.

"We have what we believe are the two best running backs in the league, but they can make that same argument," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "They complement each other very well. Williams is a speed guy and Stewart can run between the tackles with a lot of power. There aren't many teams that have a 1-2 combination like that."

Stewart has been bothered by injuries during the season but has still carried the ball 152 times for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. Between the two of them, the Panthers running back tandem have carried the ball 362 times for 1,797 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Already expected to be without starting quarterback Jake Delhomme, the last thing the 5-8 Panthers need is to be without Stewart as well. VikingUpdate.com will follow up on this story to see if Stewart returns to practice today. Without him, the Panthers running game could also be in some trouble heading down the stretch.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • A total of 10 Vikings were listed on the initial injury report. The only player who missed practice was Percy Harvin, as he remains sidelined with complications from migraine headaches. Nine others were limited in practice Wednesday – offensive linemen Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), John Sullivan (concussion) and Phil Loadholt (shoulder), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (foot/ribs), wide receiver Bernard Berrian (hamstring) and defensive backs Antoine Winfield (foot), Cedric Griffin (neck), Tyrell Johnson (concussion) and Karl Paymah (knee/ankle).

  • Head coach Brad Childress said Harvin was able to participate in the morning walk-through, but couldn't practice in the afternoon due to the migraines.

  • For the Panthers, four players missed practice – Stewart, Delhomme, wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad (knee) and cornerback Richard Marshall (ankle).

  • The Redskins are becoming the new Oakland Raiders. Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato, who has been under fire for the last couple of years, announced his resignation Wednesday night and the Redskins have already replaced him with former Buccaneers G.M. Bruce Allen.

  • Details remain sketchy about the incident that has left Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry on life support. Henry, who was found unconscious on a road in suburban Charlotte, N.C., wasn't with the team when it played the Vikings last Sunday. He was placed on injured reserve last month after suffering a broken arm. He was said to be in Charlotte making wedding plans, but had an argument with his fiancée, who was said to be driving the truck. According to police reports, she left the scene after Henry fell from the bed of the pickup truck and left him in the road. He was found by a passing motorist who made the initial 911 call. As of this morning, Henry was still on life support system and his agent termed the situation as dire. Prayers go out for Henry and his family.

  • The Panthers' Chris Gamble has been making news the last couple of days for saying that former Viking Randy Moss quit during Sunday's game with Carolina. His comments seem a little ill-timed, since the Panthers got beat 20-10, but he has a point with Moss – who caught just one pass for 16 yards on Sunday.

  • The Panthers may be 5-8, but could find themselves in prime time two of the next three weeks. There is speculation that their game in Week 17 could be flexed into the Sunday night game because they will be playing the Saints, who could be looking for a 16-0 finish to the regular season.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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