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With McKinnon hurt, how will Vikings spread carries?

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Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Jerick McKinnon is officially listed as doubtful, but doesn't expect to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers due to a lingering back injury.

With his most talented back sidelined, the question is: How will Norv Turner break down the backfield touches?

Matt Asiata is the most likely to get the start, but he is coming off a concussion and proved earlier in the season that he brings no pop to the running game outside of the goal line.

Ben Tate joined the team last week, but didn't play a snap. After a week of learning the system, the Vikes could turn to Tate as a between-the-tackles, one-cut runner that could prove troublesome for a Panthers' defense that has struggled at times with power backs -- see, Week 3 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Joe Banyard has the most upside of the trio and gives the best chance for explosive plays. He showed excellent burst last week in a time-share with McKinnon. Banyard ended with five carries for 26 yards and three receptions for 19. He played 30 snaps to McKinnon's 39, indicating the Vikings were comfortable using him in a running back-by-committee.

"He made plays," coach Mike Zimmer said Friday of Banyard, per the Pioneer Press. "He extended drives, he caught the ball and extended drives and made plays. I thought he showed some juice getting to the perimeter a couple of plays and was explosive hitting holes."

Turner will likely deploy a true committee, unless Banyard or Tate gets hot. The one thing we can anticipate is if the Vikings get to the goal line, Asiata will be the man pounding the rock.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the Week 13 games and reacts to the news of RGIII's benching in D.C. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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