Pushing aside preliminary interest from the Oakland Raiders and two other teams he said he couldn't remember, Terence Newman called it a "simple decision" to re-sign for a third season with the Vikings and a 15th in the NFL.
"The simple thing for me was the players," Newman said today during a conference call with Twin Cities media. "I know the players on this team and I know what each and every one of them brings and how we all felt last year starting 5-0 and going on a major slide. It's just something that I'd like to get that bad taste out of my mouth and finish what we started the year before — making the playoffs and having a chance to advance."
Newman, who turns 39 in September, voiced confidence in coach Mike Zimmer putting together a defense that's more consistent throughout the season, as it was in 2015, and hope that several new faces on offense will rise to the occasion after an injury-riddled 2016.
"It was still the same team that we had the year before," Newman said. "We just didn't finish and capitalize on some of the opportunities that we could have. For me, it was a simple decision, knowing the players and knowing exactly the direction that we need to take. I wanted to be a part of that."
Newman said it was always his intent to play a 15th season. But he wasn't sure who would want to sign him.
"I definitely wanted to play, but I didn't want to play just to play," he said. "I wanted to play in a place where there's a chance to win a ring."
Newman said he got a text from his agent, Ben Dogra, about interest from the Raiders and two other teams Newman couldn't recall. He said there were no formal offers and that the Raiders and the other two teams were told that Newman's first choice was to return to Minnesota.
"Ben might have spoke numbers with [Oakland]," Newman said. "But they spoke literally the same day that Ben spoke with Minnesota. So it was kind of a done deal at that point in time."
When the Vikings won the NFC North in 2015, Newman started all 16 games and the playoff loss to Seattle. He started nine of 15 games last season and returns as the team's most experienced slot corner now that Captain Munnerlyn left to rejoin Carolina. With former first-round draft pick Trae Waynes entering his third season and ready to start, it's possible that Newman will be asked to be the nickelback.
"I don't know what my role is but I said it from Day 1, whatever they ask me to do, I'm willing to do it," Newman said. "I'm kind of at the end of the run here. This marathon is approaching the finish line. For me, I just want to win a ring. At some point in time, I'm going to have to stop chasing. That's reality to me. I can admit that for sure. What happens this season definitely will play a big part in my decision next year. Hopefully, we can get it done this year and I can ride off into the sunset."
Newman didn't rule out playing in 2018, when he'd be 40.
"I think physically your body starts to respond to age; nobody is immune to that," he said. "Me, personally, I can still run. I'm not as fast as I was. I'm still pretty quick. I'm not as quick as I was. I can still jump, but I just can't jump as high as I used to be able to. But one thing that I realize though with some of the younger players is the mental aspect of the game, the study part. If you do it correctly, [physical skills] can diminish and you can still be successful. You just have to be a lot smarter than the people you're going against, or feel that you're a lot smarter.
"Your study regimen has to be more detailed, more strict and for me personally I spend a lot of time looking at film and studying my opponent so that I'm able to recognize different things that they do and be able to prepare for what's about to happen. I think the mental aspect and the film study, you can definitely survive if you can do that the right way."
With 213 NFL games at cornerback, and counting, Terence Newman definitely is a survivor.
Newman on Peterson's likely departure:
Newman also was asked about the likelihood that Adrian Peterson will not be returning now that the Vikings have signed former Raiders running back Latavius Murray.
"I was wondering when this question was going to come," he said. "My thoughts on it? There are rarely players outside of the quarterback position who pretty much stay with one team. Quarterbacks you can see it more than any other position. So I think there's a situation where every team for the most part have players who are going to be cut at some point.
"I came into Dallas and Emmitt Smith got cut as I got there. So not everybody is going to make it with the same team. [Peterson] was the face of the franchise for quite a while. He could end up coming back. I'm not sure. But he's still a great player. You see his work ethic, you know what type of person he is. He's going to be ready to prove what he can do this year. I don't know where's he's going to play or who he's going to play for, if he's back in Minnesota, I know he's going to have a big chip on his shoulder and he's going to be productive."