By Jim Souhan

The Vikings beat Detroit, 34-20, on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, and suddenly a path toward contention doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

While the Vikings were improving to 3-5 and catching the Lions in the NFC North, the Chicago Bears were looking inept against Tennessee, adding intrigue to the Vikings’ trip to Chicago next week.

The Vikings rarely play well in Chicago, but if Dalvin Cook keeps running wild, the Vikings’ offense should travel.

Cook rushed 22 times for 206 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 46 yards a day after Gophers running back Mo Ibrahim rushed 30 times for 224 yards and four touchdowns in a victory over Illinois.

The current Minnesota backs overshadowed the return of Adrian Peterson, who, at 35, rushed eight times for 29 yards for the Lions.

Cook’s dominance allowed Kirk Cousins to avoid risks and therefore turnovers. He did not throw an interception, and the Vikings’ defense produced three.

Two of Cousins’ touchdown passes went to second-year tight end Irv Smith, who scored on both of his receptions.

The Vikings have won six straight against Detroit and have to hope that their next meeting - in the last game of the regular season - will have playoff implications.

@Souhanstrib

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