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NFC North Rundown: Vikings surging behind Dalvin Cook’s rushing prowess

Minnesota is on its first winning streak of the year after another monstrous all-around game from Cook.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Halfway through the NFL season, the Green Bay Packers find themselves with a comfortable NFC North lead.

After a 34-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers last Thursday, the Packers moved to 6-2 and gained another game on the Chicago Bears, an opponent Green Bay will see two times in the final eight games. Although injuries have struck the offensive line and receiving units, the Packers’ offense was able to get back on track a week after some inconsistencies against Minnesota.

Speaking of the Vikings, Minnesota is on its first two-game winning streak of the season behind another superb performance from Dalvin Cook. A week after a standout game against Green Bay, Cook added to his career-best marks with an even more impressive game against Detroit. As a result, the Vikings continued their surge while the Lions slipped to last place in the division.

While Minnesota’s offensive breakout gains some headlines, today’s rundown also takes a look at the fall from grace for both Detroit and Chicago, including a devil’s advocate perspective on coaching changes.

Chicago Bears (5-4)

Lost 24-17 at Tennessee; Next vs. Minnesota

Bears’ Nagy Mulls Handing Off Play-Calling Duties on Offense

After a third loss in a row, nothing is off the table to jumpstart the offense, including a new play-calling voice.

Film study: Bears make offensive mistakes by the bunch

Two fourth-down failures and a pair of penalties at the end of the first half made up a group of plays that set Chicago back throughout the afternoon.

3 reasons Matt Nagy is not on hot seat

After weeks of “fire Nagy” talk, here is a rare counter-argument to why the head coach should be retained at season’s end.

Detroit Lions (3-5)

Lost 34-20 at Minnesota; Next vs. Washington

Future offers little hope for an already bleak Detroit Lions team

A lack of tradeable assets and building pieces may make the future just as murky as the present for the Lions.

If Detroit Lions coaches were on a political campaign, would they be re-elected?

While written immediately before another Lion loss, this author made a few points about why the decision to keep Matt Patricia should go beyond the team’s record.

Detroit Lions’ Adrian Peterson: I want Washington to ‘realize what they let go’

Detroit may be fading in the standings, but at least one player will be intrinsically motivated heading into this week’s game against Washington.

Minnesota Vikings (3-5)

Won 34-20 vs. Detroit; Next at Chicago

Dalvin Cook authors masterpiece performance in Minnesota Vikings’ victory over Detroit Lions

Two games, two career highs. The Vikings kept rolling as Cook accounted for 252 yards with Adrian Peterson on the other sideline.

Mike Zimmer praises Vikings’ improving offensive line after Dalvin Cook’s big day

The hog mollies up front cannot be forgotten in Cook’s breakout performances the past two weeks. Each individual earned some praise from their head coach.

Irv Smith shows his skills with two TDs, but his stay is short

Minnesota’s tight end left the game early, but made his snaps count on Sunday. And, despite the win, the team’s special teams unit had a very special day for the wrong reasons.