The Vikings quietly had free-agent cornerback Terence Newman — another one of coach Mike Zimmer’s former players in Cincinnati — in for a visit Monday.
Newman, 36, was the fifth overall pick for the Cowboys in the 2003 draft. Zimmer was in Dallas when the Cowboys drafted Newman and coached him for four seasons there. In 2012, after Newman’s play dropped from a Pro Bowl level, he reunited with Zimmer in Cincinnati and rejuvenated his career.
Last season, though, with Zimmer in his first season with the Vikings, Newman graded as Pro Football Focus’ 76th-ranked cornerback in pass coverage. But he did start 13 games for the Bengals and was credited with 14 passes defended to go with one interception.
Newman, who turns 37 in September, will be one of the league’s oldest cornerbacks in 2015.
The Vikings soared to seventh in the league in pass defense under Zimmer. But their depth was not tested at cornerback as their top three cornerbacks — Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson — all played 16 games.
The NFL Network reported that Newman met with the Patriots on Tuesday after leaving Minnesota.
After being spurned by free-agent defensive end Michael Johnson, who returned to the Bengals, the Vikings have signed only one free agent from another team: backup quarterback Shaun Hill.
The Vikings re-signed offensive tackle Mike Harris on Tuesday.
Harris was a restricted free agent and the team tendered him last week to secure his rights. Terms of the deal are not known, but Harris will make $1.542 million in 2015 if he simply signed his RFA tender.
The Vikings claimed Harris last August after the Chargers waived him during their final preseason roster cuts. Harris ended up starting five of the 12 games he appeared in because of the season-ending injury to right tackle Phil Loadholt.
Injuries also forced Harris to play right guard, something he hadn’t done since youth football, in the Week 7 loss to the Bills.
Harris could compete to again back up left tackle Matt Kalil and Loadholt.
Wide receiver Greg Jennings, whom the Vikings released on Saturday, said in an interview with Pro Football Talk that the Vikings told him they wanted him to remain on the team in 2015 before they traded for wide receiver Mike Wallace. Jennings was released less than 24 hours later after the trade.
“I wanted to know if they wanted me to be a part of the organization,” Jennings said. “They said they did. They made the trade and here I am sitting and talking to you in a position of free agency, so starting the next phase of my career, the next chapter of my life.”
But Jennings said that he is garnering interest from other teams and excited to see what the future holds.
“I’m embracing it,” he said.