Short on quarterbacks and perhaps his patience, coach Mike Zimmer called practice early yesterday, telling players to take the day off today and to come back refocused and ready to perform better Tuesday.
But many players lingered on the practice fields. Some of the offensive linemen went to the other field to take out their frustration on the poor blocking sleds. Many of the wide receivers did their usual post-practice JUGS machine routine. And then there was the team’s most experienced player setting aside some time for the rawest on the roster.
For about 20 minutes, veteran cornerback Terence Newman, still going strong in his 14th season in the league, lined up across from sixth-round draft pick Moritz Bohringer, the wide-eyed wide receiver from Germany who started playing American football only a few years ago.
With the two healthy quarterbacks inside giving their arms a rest, there were no passes thrown to Bohringer. Instead, Newman appeared to be giving him pointers on how he could gain separation off the line.
Newman didn’t want to tell us what exactly the two were talking about.
“Then I’d have to have someone go 007 on you,” Newman joked.
The cornerback continued: “We’re just working. We’re just trying to get better. He’s a little behind the eight ball if you ask me just because he’s coming from a different level of the game. So I’m just trying to help him get better at what he wants to get better at. I told him early on in camp that I’d work with him a little bit, so I’m just trying to help him out.”
The adjustment from the German Football League to the NFL has proved to be a tough one for Bohringer. He practices mostly with the third-team offense. And he didn’t line up at wide receiver once in the preseason win over the Seahawks. His only action was three snaps on special teams.
Newman noted, though, that Bohringer has the measurables to potentially do some damage down the road if he can figure out his position.
“He’s tall. He’s got some athletic ability,” Newman said. “I’m going to be looking forward to seeing what he does once he gets on the field.”
Yesterday’s post-practice lesson is another example of the leadership and the experience that Newman brings to the table, but he wouldn’t be back with the Vikings if he couldn’t still play. The soon-to-be 38-year-old is not here to be a player/coach, and he shrugged off his mentorship of Moritz.
“That’s my job. That’s kind of what you try to do as a veteran player,” Newman said. “If you see something, you try to relay messages [from the coaches], you try to help people any way you can. We’re all here for the same reason. We compete against each other, but at the same time we all have the same overall goal, and that’s to win a championship.”
So might we see Newman becoming a coach whenever he retires?
“That’s a whole ‘nother question. [For] way, way down the road,” he said.