The Vikings quietly had free-agent cornerback Terence Newman — another one of Mike Zimmer’s old players in Cincinnati — in for a visit yesterday, the team confirmed this morning.
Newman was the fifth overall pick for the Cowboys in the 2003 draft. Yes, that was a long time ago by NFL standards, but even at 36, Newman was a decent player for the Bengals in 2014.
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. Zimmer helped clean up his technique while coaxing two more productive seasons out of him.
Last season, with Zimmer in his first season as head coach of the Vikings, Newman wasn’t as sharp. He was 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 Vikings would be wise to add more bodies there, and if one of them could challenge Munnerlyn and Robinson for a starting spot, that would be a big bonus.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported the news, and added that Newman will meet with the Patriots today. So as was the case with Michael Johnson, the Vikings aren’t the only suitors.