Vikings DE Ray Edwards Not Planning to Attend Mini-Camp

Next Tuesday is the first of 14 voluntary "Organized Team Activity" sessions the Minnesota Vikings will hold this off-season. The Vikings will convene four sessions per week for the rest of May and the first of June, followed by sessions on June 7th and 8th.

Minnesota Vikings restricted free agent Ray Edwards is not expected to be in attendance for any of the 14 voluntary sessions.

Between the OTAs and training camp, the Vikings have a mandatory mini-camp scheduled for June 11-13, which Edwards does not plan to attend, Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reports.

Edwards has yet to sign his $2.521 million dollar tender, so he is under no obligation to attend the OTAs or mini-camp. About the only way the Vikings could punish Edwards is to rescind their tender offer, which would make Edwards an unresticted free agent. That's unlikely to happen, as Edwards has emerged as a potential double-digit pass-rusher, posting 8.5 quarterback sacks and 26 quarterback hits last season playing opposite All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen.

Unrestricted free agency would be a reward for Edwards.

Given that Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams may be suspended for the first month of the 2010 regular season, the Vikings are unwilling to do anything to further deteriorate their front four, which releasing Edwards would certainly do.

Knowing this, to get a long-term contract from the Vikings, Edwards may be inclined to play "restricted free agent chicken" by not signing his one-year tender by June 15.

After June 15, NFL teams have the option of reducing their unsigned restricted free agent tender offers to 110% of the previous year's base salary. After triggering playing time incentives earlier this his career, Edwards earned $1.01 million dollars in 2009, the final year of his rookie contract. 110% of that would be $1.111 million dollars.

By not signing the tender, Edwards would be under no obligation to report to training camp, and thus, would not face the daily fines typically associated with contract holdouts. Edwards could use his absence, and the looming suspensions of the Williamses, as leverage against the Vikings to get the long-term contract that he wasn't able to seek on the open market, and that wasn't extended to him earlier this off-season by the Vikings.

Of course, Edwards would be taking on an awfully big risk, perhaps up to $1.41 million dollars in base salary on the season.

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