Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, shown Nov. 25, 2018, has been dealing with the hamstring injury since the Panthers' Sept. 23 win over the Houston Texans. File Photo by Nell Redmond/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey will miss Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a lingering hamstring injury that has now forced him to miss three straight contests.
McCaffrey has been dealing with the problematic hamstring since straining it during the second quarter of the Panthers' Sept. 23 win over the Houston Texans. Carolina head coach Matt Rhule was optimistic that McCaffrey would return this week after he practiced on a limited basis last week.
The All-Pro tailback, however, was limited again in Wednesday's practice and didn't participate Thursday or Friday, forcing the Panthers to lean on rookie Chuba Hubbard for the third consecutive week.
"It just hasn't been there yet," said Rhule, who declined to call it a setback for McCaffrey. "He's doing everything he can. It's been three weeks. We hope to have him out there next week. ... When doctors clear him and the player feels like they can play, we'll go with him."
McCaffrey was forced to miss 13 games last season because of three different injuries after the Panthers made him the NFL's highest-paid running back with a four-year, $64 million contract extension.
McCaffrey's injury woes started after the 2019 campaign in which he became just the third player in league history to record at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
The Panthers (3-2) are set to play the Vikings (2-3) at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.