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Carolina Panthers safety Xavier Woods is expected to miss “extended time” with an injured hamstring, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, with one source saying he could miss four to six weeks.
The Panthers are already dealing with injuries to cornerback Jaycee Horn (hamstring) and CJ Henderson (ankle) in the secondary.
Add in Frankie Luvu’s hip injury and the season-ending fractured fibula that linebacker Shaq Thompson suffered in Week 2, and the Panthers are seriously beat up on the defensive side of the ball.
That isn’t great news for an 0-3 Carolina team facing a desperate 0-3 Minnesota Vikings side that has been dangerous on offensive side of the ball (third in total offense at 406 yards per game) behind big seasons from quarterback Kirk Cousins and wideout Justin Jefferson.
Woods, 28, has spent the past two seasons with the Panthers after stints with the Dallas Cowboys (2017-20) and Vikings (2021).
His best season came with the Vikings, when he set career highs in interceptions (four), tackles (108), passes defensed (10), sacks (one) and tied his career high in forced fumbles (two).
That earned him a three-year, $15 million contract in free agency with the Panthers ahead of the 2022 campaign, and he put up 86 tackles and two fumble recoveries for the team in 15 contests.
He has 11 tackles this season.
In his absence, the Panthers will turn to Sam Franklin at safety, who has six tackles and a pass defensed this season, his fourth with Carolina.
The team’s 2023 fifth-round pick, Jammie Robinson, could also see snaps. He was inactive in Week 3.