Whittaker worked out for the Saints on Thursday, Josh Katzenstein of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The bigger news from this report is that Whittaker has seemingly recovered from the torn ACL he sustained during OTAs in 2018 while with the Panthers. The 30-year-old now seems ready to look for his next NFL opportunity. Whittaker recorded 536 rushing yards and two touchdowns over 121 carries (4.4 YPC) in his four seasons with Carolina. The Texas native actually recorded more return yards (856 total) than rushing yards each year as a Panther. Whittaker was joined by fellow running backs Rob Kelley and Buck Allen in Thursday's workout.
Whittaker was placed on injured reserve Thursday after tearing his ACL during OTAs. Whittaker suffered the injury earlier this week during a non-contact drill, and his season is over before it even started as a result. Whittaker appeared in just 12 games last season and only ended up carrying the ball seven times, and he was is line to see limited opportunities again in 2018. The Panthers' backfield is expected to be lead by Christian McCaffrey and newly-signed C.J. Anderson, with Cameron Artis-Payne likely seeing limited snaps as well.
Whittaker finished with seven carries for 18 yards and five receptions (on six targets) for 47 yards and a touchdown in 12 games played this season. Whittaker entered his fourth season as a Panther coming off a career-high 82 touches in 2016, but after the team spent its first two draft picks on tailback Christian McCaffrey and utility man Curtis Samuel, his role always figured to be reduced this season. Despite Samuel not featuring much due to injuries, Whittaker was clearly an afterthought in Carolina's offense. Assuming the team's backfield remains intact, he'll likely be slated for a similar amount of action in 2018, his final year under contract.
Whittaker rushed for three yards on his lone carry during Sunday's 31-24 win over Green Bay. The carry snapped a three-game touchless streak for Whittaker and brings his yardage total since Week 4 to zero. Rookie Christian McCaffrey continues to provide highlights while veteran back Jonathan Stewart keeps bringing power between the tackles. Throw in one of the league's most mobile quarterbacks and there simply isn't much room for Whittaker to get much action week to week.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Whittaker will be active Sunday against the Vikings and could earn carries in the contest, Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer reports. While top backs Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart don't carry injury designations into the weekend, both have been limited of late by shoulder and foot issues, respectively. That could prompt Rivera to act conservatively with the usage of both backs, which might result in Cameron Artis-Payne and Whittaker picking up a couple touches in relief of the top two runners. Neither Artis-Payne nor Whittaker will see large enough workloads to make much of an imprint in the fantasy realm, however. Primarily a special-teams contributor for the Panthers, Whittaker has produced just 44 yards from scrimmage on seven touches (three receptions) this season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||Los Angeles Rams||14||17.26|
|2||09/13||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
|6||10/13||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
|8||10/27||@San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
|10||11/10||@Green Bay Packers||19||18.13|
|12||11/24||@New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|17||12/29||New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||21||94||0||10||91||0||18|