Minnesota Vikings Free Agency: 5 Good Replacements for Ray Edwards

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IJune 14, 2011

Minnesota Vikings Free Agency: 5 Good Replacements for Ray Edwards

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    SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 22:  Ray Edwards #91 of the Minnesota Vikings stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on August 22, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Among the myriad of player issues the Vikings will have to face this summer is one involving good ol’ Ray Edwards.

    Edwards is a massive pass rusher with a bright future in the NFL—should he want it—and a world of talent.

    But he is also a free agent who refutes the notion of playing for the one-year free agent tender and will inevitably be on the lookout for a big-time contract.

    Early prediction—Cleveland Browns.

    So who do the Vikings snatch in his place? Does the market even hold comparable talent, or will the Vikings be reaching no matter who they look at?

    The only way to find out is by coming inside.

Vernon Gholston, Jets

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 16:  Vernon Gholston #56 of the New York Jets  takes down Mike Sellers #45 of the Washington Redskins in a pre-season NFL game at Giants Stadium, August 16, 2008 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    OK, let me start out by saying the market is very thin for free agent linemen who will actually be available.

    But what the market does apparently have—as you’ll see—is a handful of players who are considered busts.

    Gholston was the Jets’ overall No. 6 pick and was a complete flop, but he was a flop in the goofy 3-4 system that New York runs.

    Because of poor cumulative three-year production and a bust tag, the Vikings could not only get Gholston at an incredibly cheap price, but they could also wind up finding a diamond in the rough and resurrecting his career.

    It would be a huge risk though.

Brian Robison, Vikings

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 13:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by Brian Robison #96 of the Minnesota Vikings on December 13, 2009 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)  (Photo by Jim
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The internal solution for the Vikings.

    He’s patiently waited all this time, played well when given the chance and was rewarded with a three-year contract.

    The Vikings could wind up going with Robison since it would be easier to go with a guy who already knows the system, but that would leave them thin in the depth department.

    A free agent acquisition would make camp rather interesting and give the Vikings some much-needed insurance.

Charles Johnson, Panthers

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    SEATTLE - DECEMBER 05:  Running back Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against Charles Johnson #95 of the Carolina Panthers at Qwest Field on December 5, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won, 31-14. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    One of the most explosive pass rushers in the league, and he’s available?

    Well, for now he’s available, as the Panthers did not extend the franchise tag to Johnson; if the Vikings decided to try their hand at snatching him up, they would find themselves in a checkbook war.

    Still, out of everyone the Vikings could grab, Johnson is the closest in overall talent—perhaps even better—to Ray Edwards.

    Johnson became only the fifth Panther ever to record double-digit sacks in 2010 with 12.

Andre Carter, Redskins

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    LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 28:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings is hit by Washington Redskins linebacker Andre Carter #99 at FedExField November 28, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Vikings won the game 17-13.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Another pass rusher that could come at a cheap price is Anthony Carter.

    The switch over to a hybrid 3-4 experiment was a monumental failure in Washington, and most of the linemen had trouble adjusting, which is why the Redskins were so horrible at getting to the quarterback.

    Carter would flourish in a base 4-3 system, and his price tag could be pretty attractive, but his age would be the only concern I see.

Jason Babin, Titans

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    NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 21:  Jason Babin #93 of the Tennessee Titans reacts after sacking quarterback Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins during the first half at LP Field on November 21, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Perhaps 2010 was a fluke season for Babin since it was a contract year.

    Babin racked up 12.5 sacks in 2010, which was a big surprise for the Titans since he was pedestrian at best his entire career.

    But the thing is, though, 2010 was the first time Babin started all 16 games since 2004, so the other thought process is this is what you get from him when he plays all season.

    If the Vikings were to be interested in Babin, they could wind up competing with Cleveland and Philadelphia, though.

    He may not be as explosive as Edwards, but then again, nobody really knows.


    I hope you guys enjoyed this slideshow, and for all of you fantasy football fans, come check out my Early Wide Receiver Rankings for 2011.