Edwards Sidelined for Start of Camp

Ray Edwards (Harry How/Getty)

Defensive end Ray Edwards, who set big goals for himself this season, will open training camp on the sidelines with a back injury.

Defensive end Ray Edwards will start training camp the way he ended his 2007 season – not practicing with the Vikings.

Edwards, who was suspended for the final four games of the 2007 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, was reinstated at the conclusion of the regular season and had practiced during the first half of the team's offseason workouts this year. However, a back injury that sidelined him for the Vikings' official minicamp in June is still giving him enough problems that he won't be participating in their first full-team training camp practice Friday morning.

Edwards will spend an undetermined amount of time on the team's physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

"Ray had been doing fine and was working out well. I think he is probably overworked, and he had a little twinge, so he can get more done on the side working out. It's more of an insurance kind of thing for us," head coach Brad Childress said. "I can't tell you if it will be a day, two days, three days. It's certainly not because of conditioning; he is in great, great shape. It's just a twinge in his back a little bit."

Childress also added, "Do I have to be specific with that now or do I have to tell you exactly where it is in his back or just his back some place?" – a reference to his disdain for reporting injuries to the public.

With Kenechi Udeze out for the season while he continues to recover from leukemia, which was announced as being in remission in April, and the Vikings trading away their other first-round defensive end, Erasmus James, to the Washington Redskins, Edwards was expecting to have a big season. After the Vikings traded for reigning sacks king Jared Allen, who led the league with 15½ sacks in 14 games last year, Edwards said his goal was to break to Michael Stahan's NFL single-season record of 22½ sacks. It was a statement that drew much attention, considering that Edwards' previous career high is 5½, which tied for the team lead last year.

A bad back won't help him reach those goals, but Childress said he isn't overly concerned about the injury.

"No, I'm not. Backs are kind of funny things. If I thought that there was something he wasn't doing to put himself in a place to be there … like I said, I think he's over-worked a little bit and whether it raises its ugly head again, I don't know," Childress said. "It hasn't been an ongoing thing. He wants to be in the mix, so he'll be back as fast as he can and as fast as we'll let him."

Jayme Mitchell will take Edwards' place in the starting rotation on the left side in today's practices. Brian Robison, a 2007 fourth-round draft choice, will also receive some work there, but the Vikings had planned on having Robison hone his skills on the right side while backing up Allen.

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