Almost 20 practices without Edwards

Ray Edwards is skipping OTAs and minicamp, which means he'll miss almost 20 practices over the next four weeks.

Defensive end Ray Edwards has made it clear he won't be attending any portion of the Vikings' voluntary program this offseason.

That includes 14 practices which will be part of the Organized Team Activities that begin next week. Edwards also is planning to skip the mandatory minicamp from June 11-13, and he won't be fined for doing so.

That's because as a restricted free agent Edwards isn't obligated to sign his deal at this point and he has no plans to do so until June 15. That's the date on which the Vikings can drop their tender off to 110 percent of Edwards' 2009 base salary.

Edwards' beef isn't as much with the Vikings as it is with the fact he did not become an unrestricted free agent after four years of service.

The lack of a new collective bargaining agreement meant that players had to have six years of time in the NFL before becoming unrestricted this offseason. Edwards wanted a long-term deal but instead received a first-round tender offer from the Vikings that will pay him $2.5 million this season.

Edwards' absence should be good news for backup ends Brian Robison and rookie Everson Griffen, who was taken in the fourth round out of Southern Cal in last month's draft.

Jayme Mitchell and Mike Montgomery, signed as a free agent from Green Bay this offseason, also could get additional snaps.

The Vikings could attempt to get Edwards to sign his tender and then try to trade him, but it appears the team has no interest in going that route.

Edwards was second on the Vikings last season with 8.5 sacks and then had a league-high four sacks in the playoffs. The Vikings' hope could be that Edwards performs at a high level in his contract year in 2010 and then if he leaves that Griffen will be ready to move into the starting role.

NOTES

  • The Vikings appear to be kicking the tires on a veteran interior offensive lineman.

    Longtime Houston Texans left guard Chester Pitts told the Fox Sports Houston website that the Vikings recently called him to find out where he is in his rehabilitation process.

    Pitts, who will turn 31 on June 26, started every game for the Texans for seven seasons, but he injured his right knee last September against Tennessee and underwent microfracture surgery. Pitts has been rehabbing the knee for several months and likely won't be ready to go until around training camp.

    Pitts also reportedly has received interest from Seattle, Detroit and San Francisco, but the opportunity with the Vikings could be an interesting one.

    The feeling is he would provide competition for Anthony Herrera, meaning Pitts would have to make the move from left to right guard. Steve Hutchinson has the left guard job locked up in Minnesota.

    Herrera had some difficult moments last season, in part because he was coming off shoulder surgery that limited how much work he could do last offseason.

    Pitts told the Houston-based website that his knee "is doing great. It's structurally sound," he said. "Because I had to be off of it for nine weeks, it's kind of a deep hole you climb into. It takes time to get it back strong. But I'd say it's about 85 percent right now."

  • The Vikings will open Organized Team Activities on May 18 at Winter Park. There are 14 such practices scheduled and all are voluntary.

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