Packers have questions at WR, OL

The Vikings are unsure if CB Antoine Winfield will be able to play, but the Packers are even thinner at wide receiver. The Packers will be answering questions there and on the offensive line as they prepare for Minnesota.

The Packers enter a critical week on their schedule hurting at one of their deepest positions.

A week after Jordy Nelson was lost indefinitely to a knee injury, fellow receiver Brett Swain suffered what was confirmed Monday by head coach Mike McCarthy as a season-ending knee sprain.

Swain suffered the injury covering a kickoff in the Packers' 31-3 road win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

"Very unfortunate for Brett and his injury yesterday in Cleveland," said McCarthy, who added that Swain would undergo surgery.

Swain, a first-year player, had been a top contributor on special teams and also was used in a situational role on offense.

With McCarthy saying that Nelson will be sidelined for at least a couple more weeks, the Packers are down to three healthy wideouts: starters Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, along with James Jones.

They also lost another weapon in the passing game Sunday, when tight end Jermichael Finley suffered a knee sprain in Green Bay's opening series.

"He'll be a long shot to go this week," McCarthy said.

Being short-handed at receiver doesn't bode well for the Packers (4-2), who have won two straight games and are staring at a rematch against the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings (6-1) on Sunday in Green Bay.

McCarthy said the team would have to add at least another receiver this week.

"That's what we're working through right now," McCarthy said. "The personnel department is looking at their options, and we'll probably make a decision here in the next 24 hours."

Promoting Jake Allen, a first-year player, from the practice squad is under consideration.

LINE LOOKS DIFFERENT

Although veteran bookend tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher could be ready to contribute, head coach Mike McCarthy suggested Monday that the Packers will continue to go with the offensive line that they employed in the 31-3 win at the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

That could mean a second straight start for rookie T.J. Lang at left tackle and another start for Allen Barbre at right tackle when second-place Green Bay hosts the first-place Minnesota Vikings in a much-hyped rematch Sunday at Lambeau Field.

"The way we're planning and just the way you go about it every Monday, we're planning to play the game with the individuals that finished the game," McCarthy said.

Lang started in place of Clifton, who was sidelined for the third time in the last four games because of a recurring ankle sprain.

McCarthy said Clifton would probably continue doing rehab work for most of this week and then "see if he can go on Friday" before making a determination on whether he can play against the Vikings.

Tauscher, meanwhile, has been cleared to be a full participant in practice this week, two weeks after he re-signed with the team as a free agent. The right tackle is nine months removed from major reconstructive knee surgery. He participated in team drills on a limited basis for the first time last week.

"We'll evaluate Mark as far as how he fits into our plan (for Sunday)," McCarthy said.

The offensive line without Clifton, Tauscher and center Jason Spitz, who has been plagued by back spasms the last couple weeks, had a good showing against the Browns. The unit didn't allow a sack of Aaron Rodgers for the first time this season and also helped the Packers churn out a season-high 202 rushing yards, including 148 by Ryan Grant.

NOTES

  • McCarthy on the confidence of his team after two straight blowout wins to get within a game of the Vikings in the loss column for the division lead: "Our confidence is high, and it damn well should be. We're growing as a football team. We're coming forward with the targets we're trying to hit. I think we're definitely, from a preparation standpoint, it's looking the way you want it to look week in and week out. ... We feel very, very good about ourselves as a football team."

  • WR Brett Swain will be placed on injured reserve after suffering a major knee sprain in the 31-3 victory at the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The first-year player had been mostly contributing on special teams.

  • TE Jermichael Finley also suffered a sprained knee in the game, but it's not considered to be too severe. Finley is considered a long shot to return this week, but he hasn't been ruled out from playing in the big matchup against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

  • S Derrick Martin suffered a strained hamstring Sunday. He is expected to miss some practice time this week.

  • C Jason Spitz will undergo further testing Tuesday for lower back spasms that have kept him out of the starting lineup the last two games. Spitz missed the Oct. 18 win over the Detroit Lions. He was activated Sunday but contributed sparingly in a special-teams role. The Packers won't know until Wednesday whether he could have a chance to play Sunday. For now, Scott Wells remains the starter.

  • RB Ahman Green has been cleared to be a full participant in practice this week. Green had limited work last week after the Packers signed him as a free agent to help their ailing running game. Depending on how he fares in practice, Green could be activated for Sunday's game.

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