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Vikings like Waynes, but veteran Newman helping win games

MINNEAPOLIS -- Terence Newman is keeping top draft choice Trae Waynes off the field, and that's the best thing for the Minnesota Vikings' defense at the moment.

MINNEAPOLIS - Terence Newman is keeping top draft choice Trae Waynes off the field, and that’s the best thing for the Minnesota Vikings’ defense at the moment.
Halfway through his rookie season, Waynes remains Minnesota’s left cornerback of the future, an understudy to the 13-year veteran of the hour.
Newman is coming off his best game of the season, with two interceptions, five defended passes and five tackles against Oakland. The 37-year-old has proven a wily and durable addition to a relatively young and developing secondary.
More important, Newman remains a viable playmaker after signing with Minnesota as a free agent, reuniting with his longtime defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer, now Vikings head coach.
“My goal was to win as many games as possible, and in doing that, play as hard as possible,” Newman said Friday. “My only expectations were to come in and compete as hard as I could and try to help the guys here get a better understanding of what was wanted with coach Zim.”
Mission accomplished so far.
The Vikings (7-2) are preparing for their biggest game of the season Sunday against archrival Green Bay (6-3), the two top teams in the NFC North battling at TCF Bank Stadium.
“We’ve played well, but I don’t think we’ve played up to our complete potential yet,” added Newman, the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
“Obviously, he’s a smart player,” said defensive end Brian Robison. “He’s been in this league for a while. He’s been a great veteran leader for our guys on the back end. So to be able to see him succeed on Sunday and to get an honor like that, congratulations to him. That’s a huge deal for our team.”
Newman and Deion Sanders are the only cornerbacks 37 or older to have two interceptions in a game. His 39 career interceptions rank third among active players.
The two-time Pro Bowler has started 181 of 183 games. Only Oakland safety Charles Woodson has played more games (247) among defensive backs. Newman has been a member of five NFL top-10 defenses and played in seven playoff games.
Zimmer said he has high expectations for Newman, noting that experience gives him an edge that does not paper over any physical deficiencies.
“You still have to be able to run and get in and out of cuts and be tough,” Zimmer said. “But I think the part that helps is the intelligence; that helps you understand routes and splits, and he’s got a lot of experience doing that.”
Waynes, the top defensive back drafted this year, spelled an injured Newman in the second half Week 9 against St. Louis. He has nine tackles and three pass defenses in spot duty.
“It is a delicate situation because Trae has really improved a lot since he first came in here,” Zimmer said. “He’s getting better all the time. There will be times throughout the year when we’ll try to get him into games.
“It’s tough, but Terence deserves to play. He’s helping. We’ll keep trying to get Trae in there when we can.”

 

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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