Ray Edwards has backups in the shadows waiting to be exposed to the light of a full-time starting position in the NFL.
To read between the lines of Edwards' comments, backup defensive ends Brian Robison (who is a free agent himself) and/or Everson Griffen just might get their chance.
"It is what it is. I got to see what's the best situation for me and my family. That's basically what it comes down to," said Edwards, who could be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
Of all the Vikings' free agents this offseason – and there are 18 of them with four or more years of experience – Edwards comes the closest to publicly taking a "show me the money" stance.
The starting left end was second on the team with eight sacks and 34 quarterback hurries, coming up just shy of his 2009 sacks total and quarterback hurries.
"I felt pretty good. I know I left a lot of sacks out there as I look through the tape, and just going through it I left a lot of sacks out there. Just trying to still finish it in and capitalize on this opportunity," he said when asked for his assessment of the season.
"I think it went OK. Like I said, I left a lot of sacks out there, especially against Chicago, I felt like I could have definitely had double digit sacks if I would have capitalized on all the sacks I missed in both of those games we played them. It is what it is and I think played well."
Last year, Edwards was one of more than 200 NFL free agents who would have been unrestricted under the usual rules of free agency, but because the league was entering the final year of its collective bargaining agreement with the players union, free agents needed six years or more of NFL experience to become unrestricted instead of the usual four.
This year, free agency could be delayed as the NFL and the NFL Players Association try to negotiate a new labor agreement. Free agency is scheduled to start on March 4, but it won't actually happen until a new agreement is reached, and most of the Vikings' free agents believe there will be a delay.
Edwards said he is prepared for whatever the near-term future brings.
"You have to do what you have to do. I'm already making moves, have a clothing line coming out in February. Like I said, if it's a strike I'll just go boxing, hang out and do what I have to do," he said.
He doesn't seem inclined to give the Vikings any edge in the contract negotiations, saying his situation "will come down to contract" and repeatedly talking about taking care of his family.
The Vikings have taken a wait-and-see approach to free agency with all the uncertainty surrounding the labor situation – the possibility of a salary cap and where that cap might be positioned are great unknowns.
So does Edwards see himself in Minnesota future plans?
"I don't know that," he said.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Edwards waiting for money of free agency
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