The loud sound you heard was the explosion as Ray Edwards did his very best to not burn the bridges on his way out of Minnesota but actually detonate them.
Whether he needs to worry about returning to the Vikings or not remains to be seen. The veteran defense has his focus set on a boxing match later this month, and he’s hoping to be an unrestricted free agent when the NFL’s lockout ends. Edwards is looking for a lucrative long-term pay day, the kind he’s unlikely to receive in Minnesota.
The Vikings have placed a high tender on Edwards because if the NFL moves forward this season with the same rules from the uncapped 2010 season, he will be a restricted free agent. And in that instance, Edwards will not be a happy man.
“They put a first-round tender on me (a one-year, $2.8 million contract), but even if that holds up, there's no way I will play for less than what my backup got in his new contract,” Edwards told Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “There’s no way I would play here.”
Edwards is referring to the $14.1 million, three-year contract Brian Robison received, a deal that included $6.5 million in a signing bonus. Edwards is seeking far more than that, but his point is he won’t play for less than Robison this season. It’s easy for him to say now in early May in the midst of a lockout. But if he finds himself in that situation, his choice will be to play for the tender or sit at home and maybe continue to dabble in boxing.
Whether or not his career with the Vikings is over or not remains to be seen. Edwards has been productive for the Vikings but he plays on a line with Jared Allen and Kevin Williams and benefits from their work.
For now, we’ll see how he does in the ring.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune