Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.
On injuries: Darius Butler is still at the hospital (with his infant daughter who had heart surgery). I don't anticipate him being here, but we'll see. Jordan Pugh was better today, but it doesn't look like he'll play. Omar (Gaither) with the knee, he'll play this week. Cam (Newton) had a stomach virus, but he didn't miss any reps or anything like that. But we still had to put him on (the injury report) because of the rules.
On how much he expects linebacker Omar Gaither to play: Omar looked good. Each day (this week) he got better. Today he moved around great. He had a lot of energy, which is typical for Omar. So I feel good about that situation. Omar will start in our base package, and we are going to stick with Thomas Williams starting in our sub package. So Jason Phillips will be the back-up for that position.
On if Gaither can help stop the Vikings running game and Adrian Peterson: I think so. He's a smart football player who understands the system; he's been in the system when he was in Philly with (defensive coordinator) Sean (McDermott). He is a great communicator; he gives us a little bit more of that veteran presence you'd like to have. Hopefully, combining that with Dan (Connor) and James (Anderson) and we have a group that you feel much more comfortable with as opposed to having new guys, young guys.
On who the third cornerback will be if Darius Butler cannot play: R.J. Stanford will be, and he'll be backed up by Josh Thomas.
On if Butler could play having not practiced this week: We've got to seriously look at that, because we've been working other combinations and we feel pretty good about that. The only thing you would be concerned about is because we have Jordan Pugh down, we are thin at safety.
On if Kealoha Pilares and Armanti Edwards will continue to be the kick returners: Yes. But I've got to say this, too. Mike Goodson is really practicing well. He's brining himself up. Whatever situation he had a few weeks ago, he seems to have refocused himself. It was really good to see him do the things that he's capable of doing, because it lets you know he has that ability. And that is the thing that I was hoping for and looking for and real pleased with the effort he's given. Last week, he gave a great look on show team and this, week he gave a great look on show team, so I'm very pleased with that.