Out of all the position battles outside of the quarterback position, this one has intrigued me the most.
Last season after the acquisition of Jared Allen, Ray Edwards vowed that he would break Strahan's single-season sack record. He came just shy of that mark last season. Another 18 sacks and he would have done it.
This was Edwards' first full season as a starter. He hasn't proved to be the pass-rushing specialist the Vikings were hoping for, but he is still young and has a lot of time to improve.
What Edwards has done is stop the run which he is very underrated for doing. He recorded a solid 54 tackles in 2008, 35 of which were solo.
At 6'5" and 270 pounds, Edwards has just the right size to be an NFL defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. He is fast, but he tries to rely too much on his athletic ability rather than his strength.
Edwards was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Vikings.
Edwards' only real threat to his position is Brian Robison, the third-year player out of Texas. Like Edwards, Robison was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Vikings.
While Robison has yet to get considerable playing time, he has made the most of it. With injuries to Jared Allen and Ray Edwards taking some time off last season, Robison got to show his stuff.
Robison has shown that he too can stop the run and rush the quarterback. In only very limited duty the past too seasons, Robison has collected seven sacks and 40 tackles, 27 of which were solo.
He is slightly smaller than Edwards, but Robison has good size too at 6'3" and 260 pounds. He too is more of a finesse pass-rusher.
While neither end is very strong, both are very fast and have the potential to be great defensive ends in the NFL.
Three of the best defensive lineman in the NFL are on the same line in Minnesota. The fourth lineman is forgotten, but one of these two will show that they too can play the game with the best of them.