Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold, RB Christian McCaffrey active vs. New England Patriots

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is active Sunday against the New England Patriots after being listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. Running back Christian McCaffrey, who was activated from injured reserve Saturday, also is active.

Darnold also suffered a concussion last week against the Atlanta Falcons but cleared the concussion protocol Saturday.

McCaffrey, who has missed five games with a hamstring injury, is expected to be on a pitch count that likely would limit him to fewer than 30 to 40 snaps. Rhule wants to keep rookie Chuba Hubbard, Royce Freeman and Ameer Abdullah, who helped the Panthers rush a season-high 47 times for 203 yards last week at Atlanta, in the mix. Freeman, however, was among the team's inactives Sunday.

Rhule told reporters Friday that Darnold was considered a game-time decision against New England, saying Carolina must "prepare for all contingencies and expect the unexpected."

P.J. Walker took most of the reps with the first-team offense in practice this week and would replace Darnold under center if the former No. 3 overall draft pick is unable to play.

Walker replaced Darnold in the fourth quarter against Atlanta but has struggled in limited action this season, completing 3 of 15 passes.

After getting off to a fast start this season with the Panthers, Darnold also has struggled lately, throwing four touchdowns and seven interceptions over Carolina's past five games.

ESPN's David Newton contributed to this report.