VikingBuzz BLOG: Edwards ready to listen?

Ray Edwards (Rich Gabrielson/Viking Update)

The Vikings could very well be vulnerable to losing their starting left defensive end, Ray Edwards, a restricted free agent with a first-round tender.

Edwards being targeted by Eagles, Saints?

There have been reports that both the Eagles and the Saints could be poised to make a run at left end Ray Edwards, who posted four sacks in the playoffs last season to go with the 8.5 sacks he collected during the regular season.

Edwards started every game at left end in 2009, but he really turned it up a notch in the playoffs this season.

Originally a fourth-round pick by the Vikings in 2006, they extended a first-round tender of $2.521 million. Edwards can easily command more than that on an offer sheet, especially considering the position he plays, the recent productivity and his age (25).

The Eagles own the 24th pick in the first round. In the case of the Saints, they have the No. 32 overall pick.

For both teams, who feel they're close, a proven veteran may very well be worth the late first-round pick that a poison pill offer sheet would virtually assure them of landing Edwards. Without playing that game, a negotiated trade with the Vikings is a possibility. However, the poison pill offer sheets might be a thing of the past with the league looking down on them.

Analysis: The Vikings have thought this through and it's no accident they tendered Edwards at the first-round level. They know full well that will not necessarily scare teams away from making a run at him. So this scenario is not unexpected for them.

The most preferred option would likely be to retain Edwards at that $2.521 million level. However, the Vikings do have a lot of confidence in Brian Robison as a potential replacement for Edwards, especially on passing downs. They also like Jayme Mitchell, who has the tools to be an effective base end in their scheme.

Had a new labor agreement been reached between the owners and players, Edwards would have been an unrestricted free agent. In that case, the Vikings almost surely would have lost him and have invested in Mitchell and Robison as alternatives to that possibility.

Edwards can be a force, as he demonstrated down the stretch this past season until a knee injury slowed him down. But he can also go quiet for stretches and doesn't seem to consistently take advantage of the one-on-one blocking he faces because of the attention being paid to other linemates like Jared Allen and Kevin Williams.

The Vikings still have options. Without a poison pill-style offer, they could simply match and retain Edwards. The first-round pick, although late in the round, could also be attractive to them. It's a chance at another quality player, or, another bargaining chip for potential trade movement on draft day.

Kevin Brown has been providing personnel analysis and writing about the Vikings for more than 20 years with Viking Update. Follow VU on Twitter and discuss this and other topics on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

 

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