3 keys to victory for the Vikings at the Lions in Week 17

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Alexander Mattison
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Alexander Mattison /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Alexander Mattison – Minnesota Vikings /

Don’t abandon the run

The Minnesota Vikings will be without the services of star running back Dalvin Cook following the sad passing of his father this week. This might alter their gameplan slightly without their best weapon on offense, but it would be foolish of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to abandon the run entirely.

Replicating Cook’s production is almost impossible. The former second-round pick has electrified the NFL this season and is now in the discussion for the best dual-threat back in the business after reaching 1,918 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns in 2020.

However, Alexander Mattison has proven to be more than capable as a backup option and this represents a favorable matchup against a Detroit defense that is giving up 135.5 yards-per-game on the ground, ranked No. 29 in the league.

Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone might also see some extended playing time if Mattison isn’t getting the job done. But whoever is pounding the rock must do so efficiently in order to give quarterback Kirk Cousins the play-action option and more time in the pocket.

It won’t be easy without Cook, but the Lions are porous when it comes to preventing runners from gaining significant yardage.