Notebook: Areas for examination

The Vikings' upset loss at Soldier Field spotlighted several areas they will have to clean up to make a better showing in the playoffs.

As much as Vikings fans would like to take aim at one area of the team and assess blame following a 36-30 overtime loss, Monday night's loss at Chicago exposed several areas for examination.

Favre in cold weather/December: Favre entered the game having lost his last seven games when the gametime temperature is below 37 degrees. At kickoff, the temperature in Chicago was 26 degrees with a wind chill of 17. But as the night wore on, Favre actually got better. He threw for only 36 yards and a 65.0 passer rating in the first half, but by the time the game was complete he had 321 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 106.4 rating.

Still, this was a loss, and the 16-0 first-half deficit certainly contributed to it.

"I feel I played about as good a game as I could have. … I don't think the cold had anything to do with the way I did or didn't play," Favre said. "Were the conditions tough? I've played in tougher, but it was windy, it was cold."

"We didn't win, so I guess that will fall in the ‘Brett can't play in cold weather' category. So I guess I can't argue with that."

Having a passer rating above 100 on a frigid night makes it difficult to pin the loss on Favre, and this was his only loss of the season with a rating above 100, something he has accomplished nine times this season.

The running man: Adrian Peterson is still third in the league with 1,329 yards and had a 94 yards rushing Monday night, but he managed only a 3.9-yard average with a long run of 10 yards.

Peterson has gone a career-long six games without a 100-yard performance and has only three games this year that have hit the century mark.

More importantly, Peterson has lost six fumbles this year, highest among non-quarterbacks in the league. His fumble in overtime led to the winning touchdown on the very next play. He wasn't feeling good about that after the game.

"Very sick, especially after the fumble, giving those guys the game," he told NFL Network.

Peterson fought through a facemask that wasn't called on the play, but fumbles earlier this season will continue to bring any future ones to the forefront for examination.

"I didn't get a good look at it, I just knew it was going to be an upstairs review," Childress said of the facemask and fumble.

The ball was clearly out before Peterson was down and a facemask isn't reviewable.

Offensive line: Some of Peterson's problems – and Favre's occasional issues – can be placed on the offensive line. Favre was sacked one during regulation, but in overtime he was sacked on back-to-back plays to end the team's first possession.

"I'm not going to set it all the feet of the offensive line. I know it all starts up front, but very close to a 100-yard rusher," Childress said.

Five of Peterson's 24 rushes went for negative yardage or no gain, and the Vikings have had 24 percent of their rushes this season "stuffed" for no gain or negative yardage, according to Football Outsiders. That's the worst in the NFL.

Special teams meltdown: In a game where several things went wrong, even the easy things failed on occasion. After making 46 of 46 extra points in the first 14 games, Ryan Longwell had his first attempt Monday night get blocked by Israel Idonije. That proved big in a game that went to overtime.

Chris Kluwe also had a clunker when his second punt of the game went off the side of his foot and traveled only 16 yards before going out of bounds.

But the most consistent special teams problem was covering kickoffs. Danieal Manning averaged 44.7 yards on three kickoff returns, with a long of 59 yards.

"Not a lot of hangtime, which makes it tough on the guys coming down the field. … They were better than us (Monday night) in that area," Childress said.

On the other side, the Bears weren't afraid to kick to Percy Harvin, who entered the game averaging 28.3 yards per kickoff return. On Monday night, he averaged only 23.2 yards on six returns, with a long of only 27.

Problems with pass defense: While Favre had a 106.4 passer rating, Jay Cutler topped that with a 108.4 rating. It was the second-highest rating of the season for the new Bears quarterback.

It was easily the best day for Chicago WR Devin Aromashodu. He had seven catches for 150 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in overtime that came against CB Antoine Winfield.

"Nobody is harder on himself than Antoine. He's still rounding himself into good football form," said Childress, referring to Winfield coming back from a foot injury.

Injuries: Pat Williams missed his first game the season with an elbow injury and Jimmy Kennedy started in Williams' spot at nose tackle.

"It's bugging him a little bit," Childress said. "We're trying to hold him down to let that thing settle down so we can have him for the long haul."

Williams didn't appear to play in the final nine minutes of the Carolina Panthers game either.

Combined with the loss of middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, it marked a significant hole in the middle of the Vikings defense. The Bears entered the game averaging only 88.4 rushing yards per game, 29th in the NFL, but improved that with a 105-yard rushing performance against the Vikings.

The Vikings also lost TE Visanthe Shiancoe during the fourth quarter of Monday night's game when he limped off the field. The extent of his injury is uncertain at this point.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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