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Mailbag: Terence Newman, Trae Waynes and the Vikings' defense

Thanks to all of you who submitted questions for this week's Minnesota Vikings mailbag. You can submit questions at any point during the week on Twitter, using the hashtag #VikingsMail.

@GoesslingESPN: Good morning, everyone. We'll get started here. Terence Newman got a $2.25 million contract for 2015, including $750,000 in guaranteed money, for a season in which he'll be 37 years old. It's true the Vikings have been assembling a younger roster, but there have already been a few occasions in Mike Zimmer's time as head coach where the team has moved to bring in a veteran player to fill positions where the Vikings aren't completely comfortable with what they have. They signed 34-year-old Chris Crocker during training camp last year and Zimmer stumped for Chad Greenway this year, saying in February that Greenway was still the best weakside linebacker the Vikings have. Zimmer hasn't been afraid to plug in veterans he trusts on defense, and there might not be many defensive backs he trusts more than Newman. The two have such a long history together that Zimmer believes Newman will play well in his defense this year, and it certainly appears as though the Vikings will start training camp with Newman as their left cornerback. Yes, the move does take the spot of a developing player for now, but the Vikings don't seem to want to rush Trae Waynes, and the Newman move suggested they're not sold on Josh Robinson, who will be a free agent after the year. Really, the only reason not to get a corner would be if you're so comfortable with your young guys that you decide to play them all now. That doesn't appear to be the case, and it seems clear that GM Rick Spielman is listening closely to Zimmer about what he wants for his defense. The two have a solid working relationship -- in the parlance of Bill Parcells, they put together the grocery list together, Spielman buys the food and Zimmer cooks the meal. The Newman move certainly came with Zimmer's input, and at the very least, he'll make it so the Vikings can bring Waynes along at their own pace. @GoesslingESPN: We'll stick on the cornerback theme for one more. Waynes was working at a number of different positions in OTAs and minicamp, and as Zimmer said on Thursday, the rookie occasionally seemed unsure of where to be. There was one instance last week in minicamp where Waynes lined up well off the ball, giving Cordarrelle Patterson plenty of room to catch an easy comeback throw against him. Before the play, Zimmer was motioned for Waynes to move up, and as the ball was snapped, the coach grumbled, "You're too far away." Those adjustments will come in time, though, and Zimmer said Waynes is getting better at coming in and out of his breaks, which was a concern with him before the draft. He's going to have some work to do, but the Vikings seem to think he's going in the right direction. @GoesslingESPN: Josh Robinson's injury between the end of OTAs and the start of minicamp is the big one. When I talked to Robinson on the final day of OTAs, he was optimistic he'd put a bunch of nagging injuries behind him. The Vikings didn't have any football activities between that point and the start of minicamp on Tuesday, so either Robinson had something flare up or he did something between the end of OTAs and the start of minicamp. In any case, Zimmer said on Thursday he didn't know if he'd have Robinson for the start of training camp. Zimmer wasn't divulging much about injuries during minicamp, so it's hard to put this in complete perspective, but it is worth noting the coach expects to have Anthony Barr, Brian Robison and Phil Loadholt ready to go. Robinson is one of the only open injury questions heading into camp, and he'll have to play well to secure a meaningful spot in the cornerback group. The Vikings have enough options that they don't need to count on him, but for Robinson, it's important to get to camp healthy. @GoesslingESPN: We'll close with this one for the day. This is always an interesting question for teams this time of year and it's true there's quite a bit of buzz around the Vikings right now. It's certainly true that some of the optimism stems from the fact things seem to be going right for the team at the moment after 2014 proved to be one of the most tumultuous years in recent Vikings history. But in any NFL city, the surest source of optimism heading into a season comes when you're confident in your coach/quarterback tandem. Look at the teams who win almost every year: New England, Seattle, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Denver, Indianapolis. In most cases, those teams have identified someone to build around in both of those positions. I'd like to see Zimmer and Teddy Bridgewater do a little more before we assume the Vikings have found their long-term answers -- the Vikings didn't beat anybody with a winning record last year, after all -- but in light of everything they went through last year, there's reason to think Zimmer and Bridgewater can be better with more pieces around them in 2015. Sure, there's excitement because of what the defense did, the fact Adrian Peterson is back and the upcoming move into a new stadium. But if Zimmer and Bridgewater have a pairing that can last for years to come, Vikings fans have every reason to be excited about the future. Without a coach and quarterback, everything else tends to be fool's gold in the NFL.

We'll wrap it up there for the day, and come back with another edition of the mailbag tomorrow. Enjoy your Saturday and we'll talk again on Sunday morning.