Welcome back to the big stage, Jerick McKinnon and Fozzy Whittaker.
Oh, and Matt Asiata and Cameron Artis-Payne, get ready to carry the football, too.
The Vikings and Panthers will be counting on their backup running backs to have a "next man up" mentality when they meet Sunday in Charlotte, a city that was placed under a state of emergency due to the violent protests stemming from a police shooting last week.
Both teams lost their "featured backs" last week to injury — Minnesota's Adrian Peterson underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus, while Jonathan Stewart is dealing with a pulled hamstring. Both players are out indefinitely.
While Peterson was the league's MVP in 2012, a case can be made that Stewart might be just as valuable to the Panthers at this point. Carolina comes in with the league's top-ranked rushing offense, while the Vikings are last.
Whittaker has started three games since coming into the league as an undrafted rookie in 2012, but ran for 100 yards on 16 carries last week in a 47-26 win over the San Francisco 49ers after Stewart went down in the first quarter. Whittaker has primarily been used as a third-down back and could wind up splitting carries with Artis-Payne, a bigger, stronger runner who has more of a straight-ahead style.
"A lot of it is you prepare for the scheme and then you're aware of the back that's in there, whichever back it ends up being," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
McKinnon hopes to give the Vikings (2-0) a boost in the running game.
The 5-foot-9, 205-pound back has started six games during his three seasons in the league, all of those in 2014 when he ran for 538 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Asiata is a power back who could see goal-line and short-yardage carries.