The Minnesota Vikings pass rush wasn’t very good in 2010 (then again, nothing the Vikings did in 2010 was good — and that includes roof maintenance). It doesn’t help their cause that the defensive end who starts opposite Jared Allen looks to be as good as gone.
Edwards is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason — unless, of course, 2010 rules apply. If that’s the case — and all signs point to yes — then Edwards will be a restricted free agent. Despite that, Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says that Edwards “considers his Vikings career over.”
“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,” said Edwards, referring to Brian Robison’s three-year, $14.1 million deal, which included a $6.5 million signing bonus. “There’s no way I would play here.”
The veteran had eight sacks in 2010, giving him 16.5 in his last two seasons (30 games). That’s good, but the Vikes obviously feel as though Edwards isn’t worth the price and/or headache. Robison, who was a fourth-round pick in 2007 and had two sacks last year, probably isn’t good enough to start at this point.
So who is?
If the Vikes let Edwards leave, they’ll likely peruse the free-agent market for a veteran presence to replace him. In that respect, Tennessee’s Jason Babin is the top name on a pretty sad list.
And don’t count out rookie Christian Ballard, who might have been the steal of the 2011 draft after sliding due to character concerns. The former Iowa defensive end has an usually high ceiling for a fourth-round pick.