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Mike Zimmer expects Vikings will sign Terence Newman

MINNEAPOLIS -- After the Minnesota Vikings hosted former Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Terence Newman on a free-agent visit last week, coach Mike Zimmer said on Wednesday morning he expects he'll begin his third tour with Newman shortly.

Speaking at the NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday morning, Zimmer said the Vikings will likely sign the 36-year-old defensive back. "It should get done here pretty quickly," Zimmer said.

Newman, who began his career in Dallas while Zimmer was the Cowboys' defensive coordinator, came to Cincinnati in 2012 after making two Pro Bowls with the Cowboys. He started every game he played for the Bengals in three seasons with the team, and was one of Zimmer's most vocal supporters when the former Bengals defensive coordinator was interviewing for head coaching jobs in 2014.

He would be the third former Bengals defensive back the Vikings have signed since Zimmer became the head coach, following safety Chris Crocker during last year's training camp and safety Taylor Mays on Tuesday. The Vikings twice tried to sign defensive end Michael Johnson, who went to Tampa Bay last year and came back to the Bengals this month.

Newman has started at left cornerback, and would have a shot to play there again in Minnesota, particularly if the Vikings aren't completely comfortable with what they've seen from Josh Robinson. Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman indicated earlier this offseason they saw Captain Munnerlyn -- who started at left cornerback in the base defense last year -- as a nickel cornerback, and what Zimmer said on Wednesday morning would again indicate the Vikings want Munnerlyn to focus on the slot. Asked how he planned on using Newman, Zimmer said, "Left corner -- where he's always played."

Newman will be 37 by the time the season starts, but Zimmer said, "He can still play.

"He came in the league later -- I think he was 25 when he came in," Zimmer said. "He struggled a little bit in Dallas, but played great in Cincinnati. Last year, he didn't play quite as good. Seemingly with me, we get things fixed a little bit. I really respect him, and I think he really respects me."

Newman's willingness to mentor younger players also stuck out to Zimmer, given the youth of the Vikings' defensive backfield. "Even for a guy like Xavier Rhodes, who is learning about the game, this guy can help the progress of him -- where when I'm not talking to him, he can be talking to him about some of these things."