Terence Newman won't be going anywhere in 2016.
Newman played every game for the Vikings last year as they reached the Wild Card Round. He made 62 combined tackles and intercepted three passes, which led the team. He and fellow cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn helped Minnesota finish 11th in pass-defense DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), according to Football Outsiders.
Newman owes a lot of his success in the league to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. The 59-year-old coach was the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator when the team drafted Newman out of Kansas State, and the two reunited with the Cincinnati Bengals before both eventually arrived in Minnesota.
Last August, Newman spoke of his admiration for Coach Zimmer, via ESPN.com's Ben Goessling:
If you could just be in the Hall of Fame for what you've done for teams, he'd be in there for sure. That's serious, though. We had a conversation the other day where, a team lines up and he calls out the play. They just line up and he calls out the play—and they run the play. I've seen him do it countless times. It's just amazing. He knows everything about the game.
Newman also told Goessling he only wanted to play for Zimmer during the 2015 season and that if he ever went into coaching in the future, he'd only work for Zimmer. Taking that into consideration, it never seemed likely that Newman would be playing elsewhere in 2016, if he played at all.
Zimmer was more than open to the idea of having Newman return, according got the team's Twitter account:
"I think @terencenewman has value. A lot of it has to do with what Terence wants to do." - Coach Zimmer— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 12, 2016
Looking ahead to next year, it will be interesting to see how Minnesota uses the 37-year-old in defense. Newman was forced to play safety in Week 13 against the Arizona Cardinals and admitted in December he'd be willing to make the change permanent.
"All options are in play in the future," he said, via Goessling. "I think I can still play corner. I can play safety. I’ll do whatever the team asks me to do. I like playing football. My biggest thing is trying to stay in the door. That’s the first and foremost."
Newman added that playing safety was a bit easier than cornerback in terms of work rate, which could be important for him given the amount of mileage on his body.
On Feb. 18, Goessling reported that the Vikings would likely re-sign Newman to be a cornerback rather than a safety. Still, Rhodes isn't going anywhere, and Munnerlyn had a strong 2015 campaign. Trae Waynes should be in line to take on a larger role in the secondary as well in his second year in the league.
Moving Newman to safety might help the team.
Whatever happens, Zimmer will have plenty of time to figure out what he plans to do with Newman.
The two-time Pro Bowler has slowed down a bit in the last couple of years but should have at least one more productive season left in the tank.