Winning awards is becoming a regular occurrence for Mike Zimmer’s defense. In three weeks, three Minnesota Vikings have taken home awards. First, it was Eric Kendricks, who was named the NFL Rookie of the Month. Then, Linval Joseph was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. And today, Terence Newman received the same honor after a renaissance performance against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Newman is receiving the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award for the second time in his career, with the first coming during his rookie season in Dallas in 2003. The 37-year-old cornerback picked off two passes against the Raiders, defended five total, and recorded four tackles. He nearly finished the game with a hat trick and was largely responsible for sealing Minnesota’s dominant win late in the fourth quarter.
On Monday, Mike Zimmer spoke to reporters and talked about his expectations for Newman before the season began. Specifically, he was asked if he envisioned a game like this for the 13-year veteran:
“Not necessarily. When we signed him, I felt like he would be a very solid, dependable guy that knows how to play, that does a lot of good things. Sometimes throughout the course of the year, these kind of games pop up, but I didn’t say, “Hey, he’s going to get a two-interception day or almost three.” But he’s a great kid, he works really hard, he helps us in a number of ways.”
The Vikings’ fifth-straight win was Newman’s sixth-career multi-interception game, and he is now third among all active players with 39 career interceptions. He leads the Vikings with eight passes defended this season and will continue to play a critical role on the defense and in rookie cornerback Trae Waynes’ development.