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Updated: July 25th, 2011 4:52pm
Likely to sign elsewhere, Ray Edwards saw writing on wall with Vikings

Likely to sign elsewhere, Ray Edwards saw writing on wall with Vikings

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With the NFL labor dispute coming to a close on Monday, defensive end Ray Edwards is ready for his first taste of unrestricted free agency -- however brief it may be, with training camps opening up this weekend.

In an interview with 1500 ESPN Monday, the 26-year-old said he doesn't think that he's at the top of the Minnesota Vikings' priority list of players to sign this week -- a notion that became apparent when the team signed Brian Robison to a three-year, $14 million deal earlier this offseason.

"There are a lot of things on (the Vikings') side that they need to get taken care of, most importantly, basically their franchise player in Adrian (Peterson) is looking for a new deal," Edwards said on the "Reusse and Mackey" show.

"So, I mean, basically, they have to take care of him before they take care of anyone else."

Teams have clearance to start negotiating with free agents beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and they can officially sign those players starting at 5 p.m. Friday. Peterson, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, is one of several players in line for extensions or restructuring.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Edwards is expected to end up with the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Atlanta Falcons -- considered by many a front-runner to acquire Edwards earlier in the offseason -- reportedly will focus their resources on signing their own 11 free agents.

Asked about the Philadelphia buzz, Edwards said, "Rumors are rumors. They're always being spread around this time, and we'll wait and see what happens."

As for the Vikings, Edwards wouldn't completely rule out a return "if they come to my agent with a good offer. ... I'm pretty sure he'll come to me and let me know what they offer and we'll see."

The Vikings are around $4.8 million over the salary cap and have significant money committed already to their defensive line. So, they'd have to do some major payroll shuffling to do in order to re-sign Edwards -- which appears unlikely, considering the team's other needs.

"Sometimes, the odd man goes out," Edwards said. "I don't know what happened. I mean, all I did was come into work and put in my best. That's all you can do in this job."

Even though Edwards may have played his final game in a Vikings uniform, he believes that he can still have similar success away from a dominant defensive front that included defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams and end Jared Allen.

Pat Williams is another one of the 19 players unsigned from last year's roster.

"I feel that I'm going to continue to do what I've been doing in putting up numbers," said Edwards, who is putting his boxing career on hold for now as football resumes.

"It's been a blessing playing with those guys as well, as they say it's been a blessing playing with me. I think we're all going to continue to produce and continue to be great."

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