Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is planning to sign his restricted free-agent tender with the Vikings within the next 24 hours, according to NFL sources. That means defensive end Ray Edwards will be the only Vikings restricted free agent who hasn't signed his tender.
If Edwards does not sign an offer sheet with another team by 11 tonight, his rights will belong exclusively to the Vikings. That does not mean Edwards has to sign the tender but he no longer will be on the RFA market.
Jackson, meanwhile, will join a group of Vikings -- offensive lineman Ryan Cook, defensive tackle Fred Evans, safety Eric Frampton and fullback Naufahu Tahi -- who have signed the tenders they had been given as restricted free agents.
Jackson was given an "original-round tender" by the Vikings, which is worth $1.176 million. The quarterback was taken in the second round, meaning ordinarily a team signing him to an offer sheet would have been willing to give up a pick in that round. Only that wasn't the case. Because the Vikings had put a second-round tender on Evans, who actually was a seventh-round pick, that dropped the "original-round tender" on Jackson to a round lower than where he was taken.
Edwards made it clear last week that he has no intention of signing his tender until he has to and that means he won't be showing up at Winter Park for offseason workouts. Edwards is upset that he did not become an unrestricted free agent, something that would have happened in previous years but did not this time around because of the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement.
In fact, Edwards and Jackson ordinarily both would have been unrestricted free agents but instead were restricted under the new format. Players needed six years of service time this spring instead of four.
Edwards, who led the NFL in sacks with four during the playoffs last season, received a first-round tender from the Vikings, meaning he would get a one-year contract worth $2.5 million for the 2010 season. Edwards made $1.01 million in 2009.
So what will be next for Edwards, assuming he fails to get a late offer? Essentially he can sit tight until June 15 if he wants. At that point, though, Edwards is almost certain to sign because the Vikings will have the right to drop their tender offer to 110 percent of his 2009 base salary. That means he would stand to make $1.1 million instead of $2.5 million.
As for the Vikings' other RFAs, here's what they will be due to make in 2010: Cook will make $1.176 million; Evans will make $1.759 million; Frampton will make $1.1 million; and Tahi will make $1.176 million.