There is no whitewashing a passing game that has averaged only 105 net yards, produced two measly touchdowns and added four drive-killing interceptions the last three games, so Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave did not even try.
"We're not at all pleased with our production. We need to get back on track. Everybody can sense that," Musgrave said Thursday, Nov. 8. "We're very disappointed. Not at all discouraged, but very driven and determined to get it back on track. It's a tough stage we're going through. We're going to keep working through it and get through it as fast we can."
The Vikings (5-4) have lost three of their last four games and need a firewall victory over the Detroit Lions (4-4) Sunday at the Metrodome to enter the bye with some momentum for the daunting road ahead. And reeling quarterback Christian Ponder needs to contribute to the resurgence if only to restore credibility in an offense that has become alarmingly one-dimensional behind running back Adrian Peterson.
"I sense that it's OK, that it's right where it was at the start of the season," Musgrave said. "None of us are pleased, and I get the sense from Christian that he's not pleased with what we're putting on the field. We're ready to get that feeling out of our mouth in a hurry."
The Vikings are reworking their protections and passing routes hoping to shake loose receivers and create more opportunities downfield.
Wide receiver Percy Harvin remains
questionable with a sprained ankle, but tight end John Carlson is expected to return after missing two-plus games because of a concussion. Musgrave said Carlson's return should provide more opportunities to get the ball to playmaker Kyle Rudolph in the two-tight-end formations that were supposed to drive this offense.
"We had hopes. I think we can still realize those," Musgrave said. "I think it's going to come to fruition. I think we'll get that started this week if we can get him back out there which we expect to."
Peterson, who was sick and not scheduled to practice Thursday, has rushed for 100 or more yards three straight games and appears fully recovered from offseason knee surgery. He is capable of carrying a heavy workload, but he cannot carry the offense alone.
"We don't care how the ball gets into the end zone -- run, pass shovel, fumblerooski, whatever it takes," Musgrave joked. "And we know we need to have good balance."