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5 Takeaways: Cook Cruises Past Lions for Vikings 2nd Straight Win

MINNEAPOLIS — Dalvin Cook did it again, if there was any doubt about who the best running back is in the NFL.

Fresh off a 226-yard, four-touchdown performance in Week 8 against the Packers, Cook put up even better stats in some regards Sunday against the Lions in a 34-20 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Cook compiled the first 200-yard rushing performance of his career Sunday, rushing for a career-best 206 yards on just 22 carries, good for 9.36 yards per carry.

Those numbers were boosted by a 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and Cook also had a 5-yard scoring run on the Vikings opening drive.

Cook also added two catches for 46 yards, as he totaled 252 yards from scrimmage on 24 total touches against the Lions.

The Pro Bowl running back averaged a whopping 10.5 yards per touch Sunday, a better average than the 7.06 yards-per-touch average he had in Green Bay.

Cook's big day highlighted a strong outing for the Vikings offense, which put up a season-best 487 total yards despite controlling the ball for less than half the game. 

Minnesota's Week 9 win was its first at home in 2020, and also extended the Vikings win streak over the Lions to six games.

The Vikings moved to 3-5 with Sunday's win, while the Lions dropped to 3-5 on the season.

Here are four more takeaways from Sunday:

1. Kendricks, Wilson help defense turn tide in red zone

The Vikings defense entered Sunday's game ranked eighth in the league in the red zone, as the unit had allowed touchdowns on just 57.69 percent of opponents' drives inside the 20-yard line.

Minnesota is likely to rise in those rankings after Sunday's performance, as the Vikings held the Lions to just a single touchdown in four trips inside the red zone.

Linebackers Eric Wilson and Eric Kendricks each had a hand in those stops, as both players picked off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford inside the 20-yard line on back-to-back possessions.

Wilson now has a team-high three picks on the season, while Kendricks notched his first interception of the season.

Harrison Smith also had an interception Sunday, as he picked off Chase Daniel early in the fourth quarter.

Daniel entered the game late in the third quarter for Stafford, who was in concussion protocol.

2. Smith, Jr. doubles career TD total

As we mentioned in Final Thoughts on Friday, Smith could be considered one of the emerging young stars on the Vikings.

He showed as much Sunday, as he hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions to double his career total to four.

The second-year tight end out of Alabama had touchdown catches of 9 yards and 1 yard against the Lions, his only two receptions on the day.

Smith now has 11 catches for 145 yards and two scores in 2020. His 2019 touchdowns came against the Broncos and Chargers.

Detroit's T.J. Hockenson also had a solid game with five catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.

3. Just call him Mr. November

Ameer Abdullah is known for his solid special teams play, whether it's as a kick returner or as a coverage man on multiple units.

But the running back found the end zone on offense Sunday — just his second offensive score as a Viking — but in came in eerie fashion to his first.

Abdullah got on the scoreboard in Week 9 with a 22-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass, which marked the second straight game the Vikings offense scored on a screen.

Oddly enough, Abdullah's other touchdown as a Viking also came in Week 9, and took place almost a year ago. He had a 10-yard touchdown catch against the Chiefs on Nov. 3, 2019.

Abdullah now has 11 career touchdowns, including five through the air. Abdullah was a second-round pick of the Lions in 2015.

4. A rare miss against the Vikings

Lions kicker Matt Prater missed a 46-yard field goal in the first quarter Sunday, which was a rare miss for any kicker against the Vikings.

Entering Sunday, opposing kickers had made 27 straight field goals against Minnesota, including all 19 previous tries in 2020.

Prater's miss was the first unsuccessful field goal against the Vikings since Week 14 of the 2019 season … when Prater missed a 45-yarder at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Prater later made field goals of 23 and 45 yards.