Key Coaching Decision #1: (MIN ball, no score / fourth-and-2, DET 37 / 11:39 Q1)
• Facing a fourth down at the Lions 37-yard line, the Viking decided to go for it. Kirk Cousins completes a short pass to Chad Beebe for 13 yards to keep the drive alive. Minnesota capped off the drive with a touchdown and a seven-point lead.
Key Coaching Decision #2: (DET ball, trailing 7-3 / fourth-and-1, MIN 35/ 8:19 Q2)
• Detroit decided to go on fourth down and Matthew Stafford scrambled for three yards and the first down to continue the drive. Detroit ended the possession with a 35-yard field goal by Matt Prater to cut the Minnesota lead to one point.
Key Coaching Decision #3: (DET ball, trailing 17-6 / fourth-and-4, DET 34 / 8:39 Q4)
• Detroit lined up in punt formation and ran a fake as Tavon Wilson took off for a 7-yard gain and a first down. The gamble didn’t work out as planned as later in the drive Matt Stafford fumbled and the Vikings Danielle Hunter picked up the ball and rumbled 32 yards for a Vikings touchdown.
• Vikings running back Dalvin Cook made his return from injury and sparked a Vikings offense that sputtered without star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who sat out with a rib injury. Cook had a 70-yard run that showcased his elite speed and play-making ability. Cook finished with over 100 yards of total offense on the day.
• Minnesota defensive end Danielle Hunter had 3.5 sacks and a defensive touchdown to lead a Vikings defense that harassed Matt Stafford all day and finished with 10 total sacks as a unit.
• At the trade deadline the Lions decided to trade their most productive receiver, Golden Tate, and you couldn’t help but wonder the impact he would have had on the game. He has always been the security blanket for Stafford and a player he could always count on. The Lions still have a talented receiving corps, but they will need to find a way to make up for the loss of Tate.