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Stats That Stood Out: Vikings-Lions in Week 9

The Vikings revved the running game again in Week 9 with Dalvin Cook rushing for 206 yards and Minnesota's first and final scores in a 34-20 victory over Detroit.

It was quite the encore performance for Cook, who has totaled 478 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns this November, enabling Minnesota's offense to build off the run game for highly effective play-action passes.

Minnesota also totaled three interceptions, including picks by Eric Wilson and Eric Kendricks in the red zone and the 25th of Harrison Smith's career. It was the first time of 2020 for an opponent to commit more than one turnover in a game and the first game with a hat trick of picks since Dec. 15, 2019, when the Vikings picked off Philip Rivers thrice and forced seven total turnovers.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. 'Remarkable' Rushes

The Chef sliced and diced his way through a defense for the second straight week and turned in the greatest gain on a "remarkable" run in Week 9 (excludes Monday's game).

According to Next Gen Stats, Cook was expected to gain 7 on his 70-yard scoring scamper that put the game on ice, which means the gain was 63 yards more than expected.

Cook broke through a tackle attempt by defensive lineman John Penisini, then zipped away. He could have been helped by the fact that Detroit only had 10 defenders on the field for the play, but it was impressive nonetheless.

Cook also accounted for another remarkable rush by gaining 13 on a play that was expected to gain 0, which was the 10th-greatest positive difference of Week 9.

Backfield backup Alexander Mattison also recorded a pair of remarkable rushes, ranking sixth (a gain of 18 on a play expected to gain 3) and 13th (a gain of 14 on a play expected to gain 3).

Cook reached the second-fastest speed by a ball carrier (20.9 miles per hour) in Week 9 and traveled 81.7 total yards (fifth-longest play of the week) during the 70-yard touchdown.

2. 0-for-1 on 20+

Last week, we noted that the Vikings were content to make short throws and did not attempt a pass more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

This week, Kirk Cousins came out firing and connected for multiple explosive plays early in pristine passing conditions inside U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota picked its shots wisely and then shifted to reduce risk as it protected a multi-score lead for the entirety of the second half.

Perhaps more remarkably, the Lions only attempted a single pass more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, and that was on the first play of the game, a 45-yard heave by Matthew Stafford to Marvin Hall that Kris Boyd deftly deflected.

Detroit was without receiver Kenny Golladay, and Stafford missed practice all week, but the decision to not take deeper shots when trailing to get a big catch or even a long pass interference penalty is puzzling.


3. Situational strength

The Vikings emphasis on situational football was rewarded in multiple ways against the Lions.

First and foremost, Minnesota didn't commit a turnover and forced three by Detroit (the Vikings haven't coughed up the football in any of their three wins this season).

Secondly, the Vikings scored three touchdowns out of four trips to the red zone and were 2-for-2 when facing a goal-to-go situation. The Lions, however, scored two touchdowns on five trips to the red zone and were just 1-for-3 on goal-to-go situations.

It may sound simple and isn't as jazzy as some of the Next Gen Stats, but that's a blueprint to winning football.