It’s painful to watch this Vikings offense. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Vikings fan or not. It’s not pretty.


Last week, Minnesota decided to rely on its passing game, and it struggled. Sunday against the Dolphins, the Vikings offense missed too many opportunities.


The list of excuses could be a mile long. They’re missing Sidney Rice, Chester Taylor. And Brett Favre didn’t show up until a couple of weeks before the season. That stuff doesn’t matter though.


Minnesota has scored 19 points in two games, or 120 minutes of football. On defense, the Vikings have held the reigning Super Bowl champs and the Miami Dolphins to 21 total points of offense.


The defense is doing its job — scoring wise, at least.


Watching the Minnesota defense during the first two weeks, you either saw it gashed through the air by New Orleans or on the ground by the Dolphins. Miami finished with 120 rushing yards on 29 carries as a unit for an average of about four yards per carry.


Against the Saints, when Drew Brees dropped back and looked to pass the ball vertically, he basically took what he wanted. He sprinkled the ball all over the field.


Neither of those problems that came against the Saints and Dolphins can continue to be a theme, especially if the offense continues to be in this funk. 


In the grand scheme of things, the defense is hardly a blip on the radar. The offense needs work.


In the first half against Miami the Vikings just left points on the field— plain and simple. Brad Childress’ call to go for it on fourth-and-short within field goal range is easy to criticize in hindsight. But the fact is that this offense isn’t good enough yet to not take easy points. Last year, the offense may have been able to make up for that decision. But it’s a new year and the Vikings don’t have the same chemistry on offense that they had in 2009.


So when Favre’s fourth-down pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage and Favre’s  second quarter pass bounced off Percy Harvin’s hands and was intercepted in the red zone, all you could do is pull your hair out. At the very least, that was six points on two makeable field goals. With less than three minutes left in the game, Adrian Peterson was also stopped on a fourth-and-goal rush. That’s another three points, at least, under different circumstances.


The Vikings lost by four.


Even a great team can’t shoot itself in the foot and win. The 2010 Vikings haven’t proved they’re even a ‘good’ team yet.


So when Minnesota failed to convert a fourth down, or when Favre threw an interception, the Vikings dug themselves a deeper hole. So far they’ve proved they don’t have the wherewithal to get out of it.


Adrian Peterson did his job on the ground. He was fed the ball and he rewarded the decision with 145 yards on 28 carries and his first touchdown of the season. When the fourth quarter rolled around, it was the ‘AP’ show. He was a man possessed. But it was all for naught in the loss.  


Favre’s three interceptions really hurt.


Not just the interceptions, but there are other unfortunate happenings that stifled the offense on Sunday. A third-down sack here or holding onto the ball too long there, something was off with the passing game.


There are those moments of triumph when Favre finds Harvin or Visanthe Shiancoe. But Minnesota can’t throw the ball 36 times for just 225 yards. The efficiency is not there. The Vikings air attack doesn’t seem to be in sync.  


That falls squarely on Favre’s shoulders. Maybe Favre is missing Rice that much. Without Sidney to stretch the field with his ball skills, defenses don’t have to double team any of the Vikings receivers. And Rice was good enough to still make plays even when he was the focus of the defense. Acquiring Vincent Jackson could alleviate some of the passing game’s pain.


With Rice, Minnesota might not have missed those opportunities. In the end, there wasn’t enough time to make up for the mistakes.


When it mattered, the Minnesota defense made stops. The Vikings offense didn’t score.


That sounds a lot like how the Vikings operated before Favre came to Minnesota. The most impressive part of Favre’s 2009 campaign was that he threw only seven interceptions. And he already has four this season.


Before he came to Minnesota, everyone warned Vikings’ fans of his gun-slinging ways. We didn’t see that last year. Through two games in 2010, Favre’s reputation is starting to rear its ugly head.


Last year the Vikings did have problems on offense but Favre and Childress overcame them to win 12 games.


Minnesota is now off to a 0-2 start and maybe the gun-slinger and the gutsy coach deserve each other.