In a phone interview on ESPN Monday, Edwards had plenty to say on the current labor agreement, his feelings about Commissioner Roger Goodell and his plans to play elsewhere in 2011.
When asked about his feelings over the labor discussions, Edwards said he had almost no contact with anyone involved in the negotiations process. He said the players by and large entrusted their player reps (Steve Hutchinson for the Vikings) to tell them whether it was a deal they should approve or reject. Edwards said he knew his role in the process would be minimal, so he didn't concern himself with the details. He just wanted a resolution to it.
"I look at it like this," Edwards said. "Don't worry about nothing you can't control and worry about things you can control. There was nothing I could have done to control the situation to try to get them to get a deal done. I didn't worry myself with that."
When somewhat goaded into a response on the question of the players' animosity toward Goodell, Edwards was asked why so many player "hate" Goodell. Edwards didn't hold back in his response, saying players resent Goodell's new sheriff in town (or, perhaps more appropriately, new principal at the high school) approach to dealing with players who get in trouble off the field and on.
"I don't know if it's hate or dislike," Edwards said. "He came in trying to change the whole game around, trying to leave his mark on the game. I guess that's where a lot of the hatred comes from. We feel sometimes he treats us unfairly due his rules that he (enforced) upon us."
There is no certainty that Goodell and Edwards have ever met face to face, but Edwards was asked, "Can you go on to have a good relationship?" with Goodell and Edwards didn't mask his true feelings about the commissioner.
"Me?" Edwards asked. "No. I don't like him. He looks at us like – he is the power above us – but he looks like he's never done anything wrong. And that's how we feel about him towards us – like we're just kids or something. We're all grown men and we're looking to better ourselves and the lives of our families and him taking money out of our pocket, we just don't like that."
With Edwards able to listen to offers today for a contract that will likely be in the $40 million range with half of that in the form of guarantees, he was asked about his preference of teams. He could have said, "I'd like to stay with the Vikings, but I'm going to listen to other offers." Instead, he effectively said, "Show me the money!"
"Whatever team comes at me with the best offer, we'll sit down and assess and make the best decision for my family," Edwards said.
The follow-up question tried to get a more precise answer out of Edwards, asking him where he would want to end up. Over the last few weeks, a lot of players have made public statements that they would like to re-sign with their current team. No such statement has been made by Edwards and, when asked the question a second time, he made it clear that his decision may well be largely based on money and not comfort with a coach, a team or a system.
"Wherever [a team] makes the best offer," Edwards said. "There's a lot of places I'd like to go, but we'll weigh the options when they come in and see what happens."
It would appear that the career of Ray Edwards as a Viking will end at about 5:02 p.m. Central Friday. While many Vikings fans would like to see him stay, it seems almost a foregone conclusion that the Edwards era at DE is DOA as far as the Vikings are concerned.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.