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Allen understands contract situation facing Edwards, Vikings

Jared Allen believes Ray Edwards is "deserving of a contract" and that "you can't blame the guy for trying to get everything he's worth," but he's prepared for his fellow defensive end to leave the Minnesota Vikings.

"It's not my place to get involved," Allen, an three-time All-Pro, told *The Star Tribune* on Friday. "Management will do what it's got to do. Ray will do what he's got to do. I can say Ray's a good player. A vital part of the defensive line."

Edwards, who has 29.5 sacks for Minnesota in five seasons, has said if he isn't declared an unrestricted free agent for 2011, he won't play for the restricted free-agent tender of $2.8 million. He also has said he won't play for less than the three-year, $14 million-plus contract the Vikings gave his backup, Brian Robison.

Edwards has pursued a boxing career during the lockout and won his debut fight a week ago in Hinckley, Minn.

"Is Ray deserving of a big contract? I think he's deserving of a contract," Allen said. "So management will do what they feel is best for the team, and Ray will do what he feels is best for himself in his career. And then you go from there.

"That's just the business side of things. You got one shot to make as much money as you can to retire off of. You can't blame the guy for trying to get everything he's worth, especially if there's guys who are making more money for him."

Allen noted that he was in a similar situation as Edwards when he was in Kansas City, which traded him to Minnesota following the 2007 season -- when he led the NFL with 15.5 sacks and was an All-Pro -- rather than give him a big contract. The Vikings gave Allen a six-year, $73.26 million deal, and he has recorded 40 sacks in three seasons and was a first-team All-Pro in 2008 and 2009.

If he's playing opposite Robison next season, Allen is fine with it -- "Brian's obviously a good player ... a versatile guy who can play inside and out ... a heck of an athlete," he said -- but he thinks highly of Edwards, too.

"Ray has a presence on that field, so it makes it a little easier for me," Allen said. "If Ray doesn't show up, I'm sure I'll see a few more double-teams than I already see. ... But I also think that's one position we'll be OK at."

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