4 keys to victory for the Vikings vs. the Lions in Week 9

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings /

Continue to lean on Cook

Dalvin Cook marked his return to the lineup with a sensational display against the Packers. The running back was given a heavy load by the Minnesota Vikings – 33 combined touches to be precise – which was the hallmark behind what might just be a season-altering victory.

Expect this trend to continue this weekend. Detroit is giving up an average of 130-yards-per-game on the ground and the former Florida State standout will see this as another tremendous opportunity to put up some significant numbers.

There were plenty of eyebrows raised when the Vikings decided to give Cook a lucrative extension this offseason. However, one only has to look at how Minnesota performs in his absence and his importance to the franchise is to something similar we’ve seen with the Panthers’ depending so much on Christian McCaffrey.

No, that is not an exaggeration.

Cook makes everyone around him better. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is more at ease, the protection knows that they have someone in the backfield who can take advantage of even the smallest gap, and the back’s ability to control the clock also takes the pressure off a defense that has struggled for the most part in 2020.

Expect the Vikings to give Cook somewhere in the region of 25-30 combined touches once against and hopefully he can have another significant impact on proceedings.