State of despair: Vikings

A quick look at a team that has not met expectations and is struggling:

What's gone wrong: A series of injuries and absences left the offense without half of its starters during most of training camp. Receiver Sidney Rice hasn't played because of a hip injury, and subsequent trades for Greg Camarillo and Randy Moss have left the offense in constant flux.

Most importantly, quarterback Brett Favre has followed up the best season of his career with what could be his worst, throwing 10 interceptions and losing four fumbles in six starts. Favre has dealt with elbow tendinitis and now two fractures in his left foot, but neither excuses his poor decision-making.

The defense and special teams have played winning football for the most part, but the Vikings' offense has held this team back from the start. Through six games, they are tied for No. 24 in the NFL with an average of 18.4 points per game.

How to fix them: The presumption has been that tailback Adrian Peterson would take on a greater role in the offense, but how much more can he do? Peterson ranks second in the NFL with 684 yards despite having played in only six games. Obviously, that hasn't been enough to get the Vikings more than two victories.

Ultimately, two things have to happen. Favre has to settle down and cut back on the turnovers, and the Vikings' defense needs to help compensate for a less explosive offensive by stepping up its playmaking. For as well as its played, the defense has managed only six sacks and forced only nine turnovers. Those marks rank No. 31 and No. 26, respectively, in the NFL.

Panic meter: Mild. The weakened NFC North remains up for grabs.

Coach on the hot seat?: A team with the Vikings' talent level shouldn't be 2-4, and by definition that's an indictment of the coaching staff. But it's hard to imagine Brad Childress' job in jeopardy less than a year after signing a contract extension that guarantees him at least $12 million through the end of the 2013 season.