EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —It turns out the NFL adage, "the more you know" can apply to a 13-year veteran or an undrafted rookie.
Terence Newman is the former, and Anthony Harris is the latter.
The duo started at the safety spots for a Vikings team that suffered a rash of injuries last week against the Cardinals and drew credit from teammates on how they did in their first times in starting roles.
Newman, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback who leads the team with three interceptions and has 40 in his career, is in his seventh total season of the defense under Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
Newman said Tuesday that he didn't review his performance in-depth on film because he turned his focus toward preparing for the Bears game when Chicago (5-8) visits Minnesota (8-5) this Sunday. It's an undertaking that Newman opted to continued Monday night instead of attending the team's holiday party.
"Terence is just a professional. He's as good as a person and a player as I've ever seen in this league," said 10-year linebacker Chad Greenway. "He's been awesome for our football team. I can't say enough about that acquisition in the offseason."
Newman compared and contrasted the safety and cornerback positions Tuesday when players returned to the practice fields.
"I think (safety is) definitely easier," Newman said. "You don't have to run backwards, shift your body backwards if some dude is running full-speed, so it's definitely easier, but it's a lot different checks and stuff. Corner, you just line up against the guy, but at safety, you've got all types of stuff and communication and checks and move here and move there. It's fun, for sure, but it can be mentally tougher than corner for sure."
Harris played safety in college and made his regular-season NFL debut after being promoted from the practice squad. He said he's watched and observed to learn from Newman even though their positions are different.
"Just seeing how he prepares, seeing how he carries himself on and off the field [helps]," Harris said. "We communicate a lot during the season. He's also challenging me to stay focused. He might hear a defensive call and ask me, out of the blue, what I'm doing. I think we have a good relationship, with being able to talk, and it translated on the field."
Teammates were impressed with the way that Newman and Harris worked together.
"For it to be the first time for those two guys to be on the field together at the safety position where you have to talk a lot, I think those guys did a tremendous job of making checks, making plays and tackling," nickel cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "I was amazed out there, 'Whoa, this guy (Harris) is out there flying around, making plays, making checks and doing well.' He was just on our practice squad for the whole 12 weeks and got a chance to go out and play and did pretty good.
"He made some great checks, and when it was his time to make plays, he made them," Munnerlyn added. "He wasn't quiet at all. He was talking and flying around. It was exciting. I feel like a proud father over here about to cry because he played so well."
The on-field demonstration was an activation of the attention Newman and Harris pay during the entirety of meetings, even if it seemed like the topic may not be directly related.
"If you went to (Harris) a couple of weeks ago, he could still tell you everything about this defense," Munnerlyn said. "He's a young guy, but at the same time, he pays attention in meetings."