Cornerback Terence Newman visited the Vikings, the team confirmed on Tuesday, and will make his next stop with the New England Patriots today.
In one respect, Newman can check one box that the Vikings look for in free agency: familiarity with head coach Mike Zimmer or offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Like Johnson, Newman played for Zimmer with the Bengals in 2012 and 2013, a two-year stretch when he had 127 tackles and four interceptions in 28 starts.
But Newman’s familiarity with Zimmer goes back further than that. Newman’s career started in 2003 with the Dallas Cowboys, where Zimmer was defensive coordinator from 2000-2006, intersecting with Newman’s first four years in the league. He never missed a game during that time, starting all 16 games all of his first four seasons in the league, accumulating 12 interceptions.
Zimmer has often spoken highly of Newman since Zimmer became head coach of the Vikings in January 2014, but Newman also doesn’t fit one aspect of the Vikings’ typical free-agent signings: by NFL standards, he is due a letter from the AARP. He has 12 years of experience and would turn 37 years old at the start of the 2015 season.
Last year, with a lack of familiarity with Zimmer’s defense, the head coach brought in another familiar face during training camp when the Vikings signed defensive back Chris Crocker, who played for Zimmer in Cincinnati from 2008-13. At 34 years old, Crocker turned into more of a short-term mentor than long-term solution. He was released before the start of the season.
Newman started 13 games last year for the Bengals, but it’s unclear how much, if anything, he has left to offer as a player that will turn 37 on Sept. 4. For his career, he has 741 tackles, 37 interceptions and eight forced fumbles.
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