Favre running on fumes?

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre walks on the field with his head down late in the second half...

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre walks on the field with his head down late in the second half against the Saints in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 9, 2010. (RONALD MARTINEZ/Getty Images)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:00 PM ET

It will be a turn back the clock day in Minneapolis on Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings sport their throwback uniforms in celebration of their 50th year in the NFL.

How fitting is that given so much of the Vikings' hopes this season once again rest on the aging right arm of legendary gunslinger Brett Favre.

In last week's season-opener against the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, Favre looked every bit his 40 years of age and the Vikings -- and their fans are praying that the greybeard can turn the clock back just one year beginning with Sunday's game against the always feisty Miami Dolphins.

The question that may be answered Sunday is was Favre's performance against the Saints the sign of things to come, a sign of how things will be, or was it just an outing where all the off-season rust had yet to completely fall off?

And the Dolphins are hardly the type of team you want to face when trying to answer that question.

Against the Saints, Favre and the offence just seemed out of sync.

The Vikings managed just 253 total yards while Favre was 15-for-27 for 171 yards with one TD and one interception. Blah.

Clearly there is a lot of room for growth and few believe that Favre will be so flat, so ordinary his second time around.

"We had opportunities the other day that I missed on," Favre said this week of his performance. "We were just a little bit off. Make those throws, we're probably not having this conversation right now."

But maybe he'll be a little bit off all season. What then? Nobody outside of the most zealous Vikings fan believes he will duplicate 2009 when he threw for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns against just seven picks.

But what if ordinary is all that's left in his resume, that most of the bullets have been fired and all that is left are fumes and blanks?

Another week of practicing with his changed receiving corp -- still no Sidney Rice -- may do wonders but the challenge for the Vikings beyond revving Favre up is to stop the Miami rushing game.

Minnesota had problems against the Saints in that department in the crucial second half and when it comes to the running game, the Dolphins are in another league altogether.

When they're on they can chew up the clock and keep Favre and company off the field which denies him a chance of establishing a much-needed passing rhythm.

"It's not where I'm looking for it to be right now," Minnesota coach Brad Childress said this week of his offence. "I think it's still going to be a process. As much as you would like to wave a wand and say, 'Hey it's Game 16 and we're hitting on all cylinders,' I don't think anyone in this league would make that announcement, least of all us with the bodies we have been missing."

Adding to the Vikings discomfort is the rise in expectations of their heated rival, the Green Bay Packers.

A loss to Miami and an 0-2 start coupled with a Green Bay victory over Buffalo would put them in a decided hole for the division crown.

Then beginning Oct. 11, they have a four-game run against the Jets, Cowboys, Packers and Patriots with three of the games on the road. So winning now looms large for Favre, for the Vikings and their aspirations.

On Sunday, on a day when the Vikings are celebrating their past, they also may discover if in 2010 they have much of a future.

mike.rutsey@sunmedia.ca


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