Inconsistent Lions, minus Tate, hit Minnesota

It’s tough to figure out just how much the Detroit Lions want to win the wide-open NFC North Division.A week ago, they acquired defensive tackle Damon Harrison from the New York Giants for a fifth-round pick. Following an ugly home loss to Seattle, Detroit dealt starting wide receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick.Perhaps the best barometer of how Lions players feel about losing one of their top skill players will be their performance at Minnesota on Sunday.The Lions (3-4) are in last place but they’re just a game behind first-place Chicago. The Vikings (4-3-1) are percentage points from the top spot.Detroit’s first-year coach Matt Patricia says his team has to “turn the page” on the Tate deal.”Those are not easy decisions. In the end for us, it’s not about one player, it’s about team,” he said. “We have a lot of guys who are really good who can produce. We have confidence in everybody on this team right now that everybody can do their job.”Tate has been Matthew Stafford’s favorite target since he was signed as a free agent in 2014. He’s caught at least 90 passes over the last four seasons and had 44 receptions for 517 yards and three touchdowns through seven games this season.The biggest beneficiary of the Tate trade might be second-year wideout Kenny Golladay, who has flashed star potential but only caught three passes over the past two weeks. TJ Jones, who was inactive in the 28-14 loss to the Seahawks, could jump into a slot role.Stafford could also look more toward his tight ends and running backs.”These things happen and people move on and they keep going and they keep winning,” Patricia said. “Is it difficult to win in the league? Sure, every single week is hard. So, we’re just going to have to work harder.”The Vikings had a three-game winning streak snapped by New Orleans 30-20 on Sunday night. Kirk Cousins passed for 359 yards but also threw an ill-advised pass under duress that the Saints’ P.J. Williams returned 45 yards for a score.