When Vikings coach Leslie Frazier stepped to the post-game press conference podium, a lack of separation from his receivers was one of the first things he mentioned.
Later, asked what has been derailing the ailing passing game, it came up again.
"It's a combination of things. We've got to find a way to get open and we've got to do a good job in protection, and when we're open we've got to be able to pull the trigger and get it, so it's a combination of things why we're not very productive in the passing game," Frazier said.
If an in-game report from FOX Sports is correct, the Vikings could be taking a look at adding a free-agent receiver.
Not surprisingly, the list of available free agents at the position included quite of few players that may have bigger names than bigger production left in them – Deion Branch, Legedu Naanee, Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Williams, Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, Lee Evans and Donte' Stallworth, to name a few from a list on thesidelineview.com.
The Vikings entered the game confident they could take advantage of a Packers secondary thinned by injuries. S Charles Woodson, CB Sam Shields and LB Clay Matthews were all sidelined because of injuries. Christian Ponder tried to get some plays deep, but Michael Jenkins couldn't get separation on a couple deep routes and Ponder underthrew Adrian Peterson when he had CB Davon House beat.
"They played a lot of man. We weren't able to take advantage," Frazier said. "Whether we weren't getting open, and I'll learn more when I watch the tape, and then there were times that we didn't connect and we threw the ball to them as well.
"With all the man that they played, we really felt going into the ballgame that we would be able to exploit some of the things that they were doing. We anticipated them playing a lot of single-high (safety), but obviously we did not take advantage. We've got to determine why because it will be the same way next week. They're not going to play us a whole lot different."
Jenkins said he didn't want to put all the blame for the struggles in the passing game on Ponder, and he admitted the receiving corps has had its struggles.
"Nine years in and I've never had it like this. We have to find a way to fix it if we want to make the playoffs," Jenkins said.
In addition to an ankle injury sidelining Percy Harvin for three straight games, Jerome Simpson hasn't had his explosiveness because of a back injury that still appears to be affecting him.
Without Simpson's speed and with Harvin not playing, the Vikings don't have an experienced deep threat, but Devin Aromashodu had an interesting suggestion.
"We obviously just have to try to throw the ball a little bit more, maybe make a little bit more of our opportunities," he said. "But I think we tried to get the receivers involved and it just didn't work out today."
The Vikings didn't have a wide receiver reception until the final four minutes of the game, when Simpson caught two passes and Jarius Wright one. Simpson was targeted seven times, Jenkins three times while Wright, Stephen Burton and Aromashodu were targeted once each.
Frazier said it was "hard to say" if Harvin would be ready for the Bears game on Sunday.
TORN LABRUM FOR ALLEN
Defensive end Jared Allen snapped a three-game streak without a sack with 1½ sacks of Aaron Rodgers, but Allen confirmed a FOX Sports report that he has been playing this year with a torn labrum.
"Hats off to our training staff. I've been banged up a lot this year and I haven't had to miss a practice for it," Allen said after the game. "It probably happened last season, but it hasn't limited me in anything from practice or anything like that."
FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported that Allen knew about the injury heading into the season but was told if he had surgery it would end his season.
Asked about the report after the game, Frazier declined to get into specifics.
"I really don't want to discuss his injuries. Jared has played every game this season," Frazier said. "Like most guys, especially this time of the year, you're playing through something."
Allen now has 8½ sacks through 12 games after setting a franchise record with 22 sacks last year.
"If you're there – this is the National Football League – their guys made a play and we didn't," Frazier said. "You've got to make those plays. You can't draw that on a board and ask for it to be any different than the position A.J. was in."
"They do a good job with the cadence. That's something we talked about and work on throughout the week and we didn't do a good job with it," Frazier said. "We're going to see them again, so we've got to make sure we get it corrected."
"We aren't out of this thing by any means. We have a lot of veteran players who realize that things change every year, but at that same time they also know that we have the right people," he said. "There is no reason to panic."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.