Lions vs. Vikings: What to watch for in the 2020 season finale

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

D’Andre Swift chases team history

Rookie D’Andre Swift was kept out of the end zone by the Buccaneers last Sunday but has one more game to score his tenth touchdown of the season. No Lions rookie has achieved this feat since Barry Sanders in 1989. The only other rookies in team history to reach double-digit touchdowns are Doak Walker and Billy Sims, Lions legends in their own right.

Swift has had his share of ball security problems throughout the season (the Chicago drop and losing fumbles in each of the last two games), but has shown flashes of brilliance in the open field and has been a touchdown machine, especially in short-range situations. Next year, Swift will look to join Kenny Golladay, Frank Ragnow, and TJ Hockenson to give the Lions a Pro Bowl selection on offense from four consecutive draft classes.

Dalvin Cook is out. Will it matter?

Dalvin Cook absolutely shredded the Lions defense in Minnesota’s 34-20 win the first time these teams met. After last week’s defensive showing, I was starting to think that Cook going after the NFL single-game rushing record this week was in the realm of possibility (Brady easily could have set the single-game passing record last week if he felt like it).

Instead, Cook will miss Sunday’s game after recently learning of his father’s death, flying back to Florida to be with his family (reported on Wednesday by ESPN’s Courtney Cronin).

In Cook’s absence, Alexander Mattison will likely get the bulk of the carries for Minnesota on Sunday. Mattison rushed for 69 yards of his own on a dozen carries against Detroit earlier in the year, so thoughts of an easy day for the Lions defense should quickly be brushed aside. Although Mattison is returning from concussion protocol, he is expected to get the start. If not, we could see a familiar face in Ameer Abdullah.