The unit broke a streak of 12-plus quarters without a touchdown late in Sunday's loss at Buffalo, but with the bye approaching in Week 6 there remains plenty of work to be done before things are considered to be on track.
The Lions (0-4) would appear to be the perfect opponent because their defense is ranked 26th overall in the NFL and 30th against the pass. However, Detroit's run defense is a respectable 10th in the league and it is in that area that the Vikings need to start proving themselves.
So far Brad Childress' West Coast offense is ranked 22nd in rushing and is coming off a game in which it averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Overall, the Vikings are getting 3.6 yards a carry. That is the Vikings' lowest average through the first four games over the past five seasons.
Running back Chester Taylor, signed to a four-year, $14.1 million free-agent contract during the offseason, is averaging 3.5 yards and gained only 23 yards on 10 carries at Buffalo. He lost yardage on 30 percent of those attempts and had only 6 yards on six carries by halftime.
Granted, Taylor had a sore ankle, but the pain was nothing out of the ordinary and certainly wasn't the reason Childress went away from the ground game.
The problem is that until the Vikings establish the run, the vertically challenged passing game also won't be able to hit for many big plays. Right now, opponents have no reason to fear either facet of this offense.
So what's wrong?
One of the main problems is that an offensive line touted as one of the NFL's best entering the season hasn't been able to deliver as expected. Part of the problem is that second-year right tackle Marcus Johnson has been inconsistent and at many times has flat-out struggled. The jury is still out on right guard Artis Hicks.
The strength of the line is on the left side, where the highly paid tandem of tackle Bryant McKinnie and guard Steve Hutchinson line up next to center Matt Birk. The left side, however, has yet to prove itself as the dominant force many expected.
Members of the line acknowledge their mistakes and say it's small technique-type things that are holding back the run game.
But problems extend beyond the line and include blocking by tight ends, receivers and fullbacks. The continued mistakes, no matter how small, are surprising considering Childress' attention to detail.
If the miscues don't get cleaned up this could turn into a long first season for the Vikings coach.
BY THE NUMBERS: 58-24: The Vikings' record at the Metrodome since 1996, giving them the second-most home victories to Green Bay (61-21) in that time.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Probably the biggest thing that takes everybody being on the same page is running the ball. From the tight end to the offensive line to the fullback to the tailback. All the stars have to be aligned for everybody to be on the same page. Probably right now that's where we're lacking. Because we're in second-and-long, third-and-long a lot. We need to gain more yards to get second-and-medium. Kind of make the defense play on their heels a little bit." — Left guard Steve Hutchinson addressing the Vikings' struggling running game.