Edwards making push to Sunday

Defensive end Ray Edwards was relegated to coaching duty last Sunday with a bum ankle. He is starting to test it this week in hopes he can play against the Giants and talk about the sideline experience.

The Vikings enter Sunday's game with the Giants with two of the exact same questions they had last week heading into their game with Buffalo – who will start at left guard and left defensive end?

For different reasons, Ray Edwards (ankle) and Steve Hutchinson (thumb) were sidelined. Since becoming a starter in 2008, Edwards had missed just one game. Hutchinson had a 123-game streak of consecutive starts snapped.

In the case of Edwards, he was replaced by Brian Robison, who helped spark a furious defensive front rush that rattled Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Like Hutchinson and other injured sidelined starters like Brett Favre and Percy Harvin, Edwards spent Wednesday taking the first steps to a full return from a high ankle sprain.

He said he is well ahead of where he was a week ago at this time, but the biggest hurdle will be the first push – giving it 100 percent on an ankle that is less than 100 percent.

"It's feeling a whole lot better," Edwards said. "I just continue to work on (improving) the strength and flexibility. I'm going to go out and test some things out today and see what happens."

The mystery surrounding exactly what level of play Edwards can handle – full-time, part-time or inactive – is yet to be determined and likely won't be resolved until he's asked to push harder on Friday. When asked if he expects to start, Edwards at first sounded extremely positive, but followed that up by putting some caveats into it.

"Absolutely," Edwards said. "We'll see what happens strength-wise and getting better at making cuts to hold up against the run blocks."

Edwards went through a transformation last Sunday. From the time he had become a full-time starter, he had missed just one game due to injury. He was watching the game from a viewpoint he hadn't seen in a long time. His job wasn't to hold the line against the run and chase down the quarterback, it was to help Robison read his keys and make plays.

"You become a coach," Edwards said. "(I was) coaching up B. Robison, making sure he was making the plays and helping us stop the run and get to the quarterback. I was becoming a coach as a fan and a teammate."

Robison said he appreciated the effort and said that Edwards was able to point out some things that he was seeing from the sideline that helped him out on the field.

"He was telling me little things that he was seeing, especially when the crowd was getting loud," Robison said. "It helped. He was into it."

Much more will be known in the coming days, at least internally, about how close Edwards will be to getting back into the Vikings lineup. If he doesn't have a setback from Wednesday's practice, he will be pushed harder today. Is he ready?

"We'll see," Edwards said with a smile and a shrug.

If he's not?

"I always prepare like I'm going to start," Robison said. "I did that last week. I did it the week before that. I've pretty much done it since I came into the league. If I start next Sunday, I do. If I don't, I don't. But I'm going to prepare like I am and see what happens."

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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