We're continuing our look at one of the Minnesota Vikings heading for free agency, what he has meant to the team before and a prognosis on whether he’ll be back with the club in 2016. You can find the entire series here:
Free agent to be: Terence Newman
Years in the league: 13
What he made last season: $2,500,000 (cap number); $2,500,000 (cash value)
What he did last season: Newman started all 16 games, playing 15 at cornerback and one at safety, when the Vikings asked him to make his first career start there and shore up an injury-ravaged group on Dec. 10 in Arizona. He won NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after his two-interception game on Nov. 15 in Oakland, and he played well enough to keep 11th overall pick Trae Waynes on the bench for much of the season. Newman's long history with coach Mike Zimmer is what brought him to Minnesota, and he became an oracle of sorts for a young secondary.
His potential market value: He showed he can still be a solid starting corner at age 37 after a down year in Cincinnati in 2014, but Newman has said he didn't want to play for anyone else but Zimmer in 2015, and the same could hold true next season. The open market could test Newman's resolve, should he get there, but at his age he's only likely to get a one-year deal -- probably along the lines of the contract he signed with the Vikings last year.
Will he still fit the Vikings? He certainly would, and it's possible his cameo at safety could provide another option for him next season. The Vikings will likely want to see what they have in Waynes, and they could bring back Andrew Sendejo after the safety started to turn things around at the end of 2015. But letting Newman go would likely leave the Vikings with just two experienced corners on the roster (Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn), and even if Waynes beats Newman out for a starting job, his years of experience in Zimmer's defense could make him more valuable to them than anyone else.
What happens: Newman returns on another one-year deal and gets a chance to find a spot in the lineup at either cornerback or safety. Wherever the Vikings put him, he showed enough in 2015 for a return engagement next year.