1. Cousins succeeded playing a careful game
For all of the questions about the complexity, or the balance, of the Vikings offense last week, it’s fair to wonder how much the topic would have come up if the Vikings hadn’t turned the ball over three times in Chicago. Perhaps the biggest difference Sunday night was that Kirk Cousins played his first turnover-free game in more than a month. Cousins was still pressured on 44 percent of his dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, but he didn’t force throws into traffic, connecting on 22 of his 23 throws that traveled less than 10 yards.
2. Vikings rushed, restrained Rodgers
As much as coach Mike Zimmer talks about the importance of putting pressure on Aaron Rodgers, he stresses the importance of “rushing the right way” — in other words, not taking angles that allow Rodgers to break the pocket and either scramble for first downs or throw a strike while on the run. The Vikings got all four of their sacks from their defensive line, but they also prevented Rodgers from beating them outside the pocket by rushing him responsibly. For example, Danielle Hunter stopped his upfield pursuit to stay in front of Rodgers as Tom Johnson closed for a 1-yard sack in the second quarter.
3. Cook might have more impact as a receiver
For the third time in the six games he’s played this season, Dalvin Cook gained more yards as a receiver than he did as a runner. The way he turned the corner on his 26-yard screen touchdown suggested he can add a lethal element to the Vikings’ passing game, and his best run of the night came on a jet sweep where he started in the slot. Especially as the Vikings struggle to consistently open holes in the middle of the line, their best use of Cook might come with him in open space — and more often than not, they could opt to get him there by throwing him the ball.