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'Relative Dinosaur' Terence Newman Ready for Training Camp Competition

MANKATO, Minn. — If there's Vikings player that knows what to expect during training camp, it's cornerback Terence Newman.

After all, he's one of four first-round draft picks from 2003 who are still on an active roster.

The 14-season veteran said the key to his longevity at a position that requires quickness and agility is taking care of his body on a daily basis.

At 37 years old, Newman admitted he isn't as speedy as he was when he was selected fifth overall by Dallas. But Newman said he could certainly be in a lot worse shape.

"Sometimes (my body) doesn't cooperate," Newman said before joking about not needing diapers yet. "I am a relative dinosaur playing corner for this many years."

Newman is entering his second season with the Vikings after leading the team with three interceptions in 2015. The veteran played 89.94 percent of Minnesota's defensive plays last season (the second-highest percentage on the team), but said he's been impressed by 2015 first-round pick Trae Waynes' play in offseason practices and the early part of camp.

Newman and Waynes are expected to spend training camp and the preseason battling for the starting job opposite cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

"There will be competition between everybody," Newman said. "Trae is looking great … I'm thinking he'll probably have an expanded role this year but I don't know, that's not my job.

"But that's how good he's looked," he added.

Newman said he's thankful to still be in the league and added the young players such as Waynes and rookies Mackensie Alexander and Jayron Kearse keep him spry.

And with the Vikings scheduled to play their first preseason game in less than two weeks, Newman knows the time is now to get to work.

"We've got a short amount of time to do it so we have to put in extra study time and stay out on the field and work on extra things while we have a chance," Newman said.

The man who will soon be the league's oldest defensive player has seen plenty during his lengthy pro career.

Yet as he embarks on yet another training camp, his eyes are clearly on the big prize.

"It's business as usual trying to win a Super Bowl," Newman said. "If we could win a Super Bowl, that would make me happy and know that all of the hard work we'd all put in has paid off."

A stacked rotation

Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd get the majority of playing time, but Joseph noted Saturday that it's more than just the two of them in the middle.

Tom Johnson had 5.5 sacks last season, and Shamar Stephen has looked strong during camp after missing most of 2015 with an injury.

Joseph compared the 6-foot-5 Stephen and Daniele Hunter as young players who are oozing potential.

"Shamar is like a Danielle Hunter," Joseph said. "Coach Dre finds good guys, and they listen, they're smart and they want to be better.

"(Shamar's improved) his tools, his pass rush," he added. "He got a little stronger and a little smarter."

The Vikings have seven total defensive tackles on the roster, a group Joseph said pushes each other every day in practice.

"Every position is very important with depth," Joseph said. "You want the best players you can get.

"Just to have good D-tackles is special," he added. "It's hard to find a group of five or six good D-tackles so we're blessed to have these guys."

Harris among crowded group for safety spot

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Friday that he's looking for someone to reach out and grab the open safety spot next to Harrison Smith.

One of the candidates to do so is Anthony Harris, who started two games last season despite joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

Harris said he's not necessarily focused on the bigger picture of winning the job, but is more concerned with showing his skills on a daily basis. 

"I'm just trying to do my job, and that's to come out here and compete each day," Harris said. "Be a real good teammates and do what the coaches ask of me. 

The 24-year-old Virginia native said he's relied on a pair of veterans for help in Newman and safety Michael Griffin, a duo that has 23 combined years of NFL experience.

"Obviously you're going to figure your own way out just by playing," Harris said. "But I think it's good to use resources around you — the coaching staff and guys like Terence Newman and Griffin, guys who have been in the league (nine)-plus years.

"I pick their brains and see how they do things defensively and just how they process information," he added.

Play of the day

Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks energized thousands of Vikings fans by diving and intercepting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater during Saturday's afternoon practice.

Kendricks, the Vikings leading tackler in 2015 as a rookie, went out wide to cover tight end Kyle Rudolph before sprawling out and making the impressive grab.

Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray waved Kendricks toward the end zone while safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo provided blocks for Kendricks.


"I saw a big difference yesterday in the way that they practiced. The things they were doing and the technique they were doing, I thought yesterday they had a really good day." — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on the performance of the offensive line on the first day of camp. The group seemed to have a focused attitude under new offensive line coach Tony Sparano.

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