Ray Edwards, who will be a free agent after the NFL's labor situation is resolved, is certain that he will not return to the Minnesota Vikings. Not for what the team wants to spend on him.
The defensive end, who has started 58 games and recorded 29.5 sacks in the past four seasons, recently told the Star Tribune that he'll pursue a boxing career before he'll take the field for the kind of money the Vikings have offered.
"They put a first-round tender on me (a one-year deal for $2.8 million), 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, who could end up as a restricted free agent. "There's no way I would play here."
Brian Robison, Edwards' backup, recently received a three-year, $14.1 million deal that included a $6.5 million signing bonus.
The 6-foot-5, 268-pound Edwards has aspirations of winning the heavyweight boxing title and is scheduled to fight T.J. Gibson, a former amateur kickboxing champion, in a four-round bout May 22 in Hinckley, Minn. A second fight is tentatively scheduled for June, and Edwards said he expects it to go on -- because the Vikings control his rights under the old labor rules.
"They have yet to offer me a new contract, just to say, 'We're interested in you,' " Edwards said. "Sometimes, there's an odd man out. I believe I'm the odd man out."
Edwards, who has been with the Vikings since they selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 draft, received a one-year, $2.52 million tender last season after owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement, ending his hopes of becoming an unrestricted free agent. It's anybody's guess what the rules will be in 2011.
"If the NFL plays, it plays, and if it doesn't, it doesn't," Edwards told the Star Tribune. "The Bible says control things you can and don't worry about things you can't. Right now, I'm a boxer."