The Vikings were finally willing and able to keep one of their free agents.
That distinction goes to veteran cornerback Terence Newman, who signed back with the Vikings for his 15th NFL season. Newman’s one-year deal is for $3.25 million with $1.5 million guaranteed, per a league source.
Coach Mike Zimmer said at the scouting combine two weeks ago that he had spoken with Newman about whether he wanted to keep playing or retire, and it sounded then like Zimmer was optimistic he would return.
Newman, at 38, remarkably played at a high level again in 2016, starting 10 of the 15 games he played. He picked off one pass and broke up eight total. Pro Football Focus gave him a higher grade than Xavier Rhodes.
The Vikings are expected to turn the starting left cornerback spot over to 2015 top pick Trae Waynes, who made strides in his second NFL season.
So Newman, even if he continues to disregard the aging process, might have to come off the bench. However, it will be interesting to see if Zimmer gives serious thought to playing him in the slot full-time if second-year cornerback Mackensie Alexander does not seize that job in camp.
Newman is the first of the team's 16 free agents to agree to return for the 2017 season. They have watched eight of them join other teams, though in some cases they did not make significant attempts to re-sign them.