HINCKLEY, MINN -- Ray Edwards has not gotten into the ring yet this evening at Grand Casino, but he will find he has plenty of support from Vikings players when he does.
Edwards, who has made it clear he has no intention of returning to the Vikings next season, will be making his pro boxing debut in front of many current and potential former Vikings. That list includes defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams and Fred Evans, linebackers E.J. Henderson and Jasper Brinkley, cornerback Antoine Winfield, safety Eric Frampton, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and former Vikings defensive end Jayme Mitchell.
The NFL lockout has brought league activity to a halt and means all of these players have been left to work out on their own. Guys like Edwards don't know if they will be unrestricted or restricted free agents when a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.
Kevin Williams is coming off arthroscopic knee surgery and Pat Williams had a torn left triceps repaired after the season. Both said they are doing well in their rehab and Pat Williams said he was cleared to begin lifting weights last Friday.
Pat Williams, who will be a free agent and reportedly said earlier this offseason that he did not plan to return because he lacked trust in the team, said it's now 50-50 if he will be back. That comes after coach Leslie Frazier made it clear to Williams during the brief time the lockout was lifted that he wants him to return.
"It’s just guys up in the office, man," Pat Williams said when asked whom he doesn't trust with the Vikings. "You know how the front office is. It’s just certain guys up in the office. I don’t have a problem with Coach Frazier. Me and Coach Frazier talked. We talked a lot of times. It’s just people up in the office, man. With a lockout going on now, it’s all the same. Business."
Kevin and Pat Williams, meanwhile, could face four-game suspensions after the NFL prevailed in the long-running StarCaps case.
'With all this [lockout stuff] going on maybe they’ll forget about it and we can go on with our regular work," Kevin Williams joked. "If it happens, it happens. I found a great place to work out in Little Rock. I’ll be there getting ready and see you in Week 5 if that’s the case.”
Said Pat Williams: "We’re hoping everything gets solved and everything we did, so we don’t get suspended, but if we do, we do."
Kevin Williams said he has been working out in Little Rock, Ark., with NFL offensive lineman Stacy Andrews. “[The] knee is good, knee is good," Kevin Williams said. "Coming along. Training and getting ready whenever we’re going to play.”
And if the lockout continues would Kevin Williams consider following Edwards' lead and boxing?
“I don’t want to get hit," he said. "I can watch it but I ain’t into taking the licks outside of pads.”