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5 Takeaways: Cook Carries Vikings Over Packers in Border Battle Win

MINNEAPOLIS — This one will be remembered as a wild and windy affair.

And for a dominating performance from Dalvin Cook.

The Chef carved up the Packers in Border Battle No. 121, as the Vikings running back accounted for 226 total yards and four total touchdowns in Week 8.

Cook finished with 30 carries for 163 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 21, 1 and 1.

He also had a pair of receptions for 63 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass in the third quarter.

Cook became the third Vikings player to record four scores in a single game, joining Ahmad Rashad (four receiving vs. San Francisco in 1979) and Chuck Foreman (two rushing and two receiving at Buffalo in 1975) as the only players in franchise history to score four touchdowns in a game.

Cook accounted for 226 of Minnesota's 324, which is more than two-thirds of the Vikings offensive output.

Cook now has 122 carries for 652 yards (5.34 yards per carry) with a league-best 10 rushing touchdowns so far in 2020.

Here are four more takeaways from Sunday:

1. Cousins efficient on breezy afternoon

With Cook carrying the load on the ground, Kirk Cousins wasn't asked to do a ton Sunday in unfavorable conditions.

But the Vikings quarterback was efficient, even as he threw a season-low 14 pass attempts at Lambeau Field.

Cousins completed 11 of 14 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown against the Packers.

More importantly, Cousins did not throw an interception after tying for the league-lead with 10 picks entering Sunday's game.

Cousins has a season-best passer rating of 138.1 on Sunday.

2. Finally, a conversion on 4*th*-and-1

Oddly enough, the Vikings offense faced a fourth-and-1 situation for the third straight game on Sunday.

And after falling short the first two tries, they converted in a big way this time.

Minnesota had fourth-and-1 at the Packers 23-yard line late in the second quarter. With the Vikings offense going against a swirling wind, Zimmer elected to go for it.

Cook converted with a 3-yard run, and then found then end zone just four plays later with a 1-yard touchdown run.

The Vikings were stuffed short on fourth-and-1 runs at Seattle and against Atlanta. Minnesota has now converted on five of nine fourth downs in 2020. Minnesota was 8-for-15 on fourth downs in 2019.

3. And finally, some key 4*th*-down stops

Entering Sunday, the Vikings defense ranked among the league's worst units on fourth downs by allowing nine of 11 conversions.

And even though the Packers moved the sticks early on that down, the Vikings defense rallied in the second half to get Green Bay's offense off the field.

The Packers were successful on two fourth-down plays in the first half, but the Vikings held firm on two of three such plays in the final two quarters.

Vikings safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris both were in fantastic coverages on the pair of fourth-down stops.

4. Vikings thin at cornerback

The Vikings entered Sunday's game thin at cornerback, as Holton Hill was out with a foot injury and Mike Hughes was placed on Injured Reserve this week with a neck injury.

Minnesota also lost Cameron Dantzler late in the first quarter, as the rookie suffered a neck injury and had to leave the field on a stretcher.

The Vikings announced he underwent an X-ray at Lambeau Field and was also evaluated for a concussion.

He was transported to a nearby hospital for further evaluation. Dantzler had full movement of his body.

Cornerback Mark Fields also left the game in the third quarter.

That left the Vikings with rookies Jeff Gladney and Harrison Hand at corner, along with second-year man Kris Boyd.

Gladney and Boyd were the outside corners in Minnesota's base defense, with Gladney playing in the slot and Hand on the outside in nickel situations.

But Boyd was injured late in the fourth quarter and had to be helped off the field, leaving the Vikings with just two healthy cornerbacks.

That left Gladney and Hand at cornerback, as safety Josh Metellus joined Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith in a nickel package.