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NFC North Rundown, Week 4: Vikings lose Cook for season, Bears start Trubisky era

A new era begins in Chicago, Detroit moves to the forefront of the division, and Minnesota is left searching for answers after injury once again.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With a 35-14 pummeling of the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers remain tied atop the NFC North standings with a 3-1 record heading into week five.

As the Packers get set for a Sunday afternoon clash with the Dallas Cowboys this week, the rest of the division continues to be a wealth of noteworthy NFL storylines. The Vikings lost yet another offensive impact player on Sunday against a Lions team that finds itself tied for the division lead behind a defense exceeding expectations. While Detroit has established itself as a real competitor alongside Green Bay, the Bears have officially begun another new era of quarterback experimenting.

More on those stories in today’s headlines.

Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

Lost 14-7 vs. Detroit; Next at Chicago

Bridgewater, Bradford, and now Dalvin Cook take a backseat to knee injuries.

The rookie phenom’s season was lost after a non-contact knee injury in Sunday’s game. In the midst of the ACL tear, the rest of Minnesota’s offense faces a number of questions after scoring just seven points against Detroit. Whether or not one of Minnesota’s two veteran backup running backs is able to step up in Cook’s absence will be an important question for the Vikings to try to answer next week.

Minnesota defense shows up once again, but is doomed by failed turnover chances.

Despite a dominating six sack-performance, the Vikings’ defensive day was marred by four missed interception opportunities that could have aided the Vikes’ ailing offense against the Lions.

Vikings’ struggles at kicker continue with Kai Forbath.

After releasing Blair Walsh last season due to his inconsistency, the Vikings may be in trouble once again. Forbath missed his third kick in four games, the latest a 39-yard doinker off the right upright. While it was his first field goal miss of the season, Forbath has missed a pair of extra points. Meanwhile, Walsh is six-for-seven with the Seattle Seahawks in the early going.

Chicago Bears (1-3)

Lost 35-14 at Green Bay; Next vs. Minnesota

Mitch Trubisky gets his first career start against a divisional foe.

Despite signing Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45 million contract in the offseason, the Bears have ultimately decided to break in the rookie Trubisky. The number two overall pick in the 2017 draft will get his first NFL regular season experience after just four games, but is it too soon?

Can Trubisky save John Fox’s tenure in Chicago?

The rookie’s progression over the next 12 games may be the best barometer of Fox’s job security. The article names two offensive minds that may come to mind if the Bears decide to part ways.

There’s more to Chicago’s woes than the quarterback position.

Glennon isn’t 100% at fault for the team’s offense owning an NFL-worst turnover differential of minus-seven. Will the receiving options play any better for Trubisky than Glennon?

Detroit Lions (3-1)

Won 14-7 at Minnesota; Next vs. Carolina

Glover Quin is quietly Detroit’s x-factor.

The only player in the league with two interceptions and two forced fumbles so far this season, Quin helped secure a Lions victory on Sunday. The 31-year old has been a consistent performer for years on an under-the-radar defense and is a big reason why the team is tied for an NFL-high 11 takeaways.

Meanwhile, Detroit’s highest-paid player posted the team’s lowest PFF grade.

Pro Football Focus graded quarterback Matthew Stafford at 37.8, the team’s lowest grade in week four. The low grade came even in the midst of turnover-free football.

Studs and duds: The offensive line had an up-and-down week.

Ameer Abdullah and the Lions’ safeties get a thumbs up, while the offensive line gets an thumbs down overall.