Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Zimmer says good-bye to Cincinnati in open letter

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: January 21, 2014 - 11:18 AM

In an open letter, seen here via cincinnati.com, new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said good-bye to the Bengals and Cincinnati, where he spent the past six seasons turning the Bengals' defense into one of the league's better and more consistent units.

To all of his former players, Zimmer wrote, "You should be proud of what this franchise has become" and "We proved a lot of people wrong, didn't we?"

We spoke to Bengals defensive back Chris Crocker last week. He told us Zimmer "absolutely loves proving people wrong."

Here is the text of the letter ...

To Bengals Fans,

For the past six years I have made Cincinnati my home. I have come to love the area, the people and the city. It truly is a fantastic place with unbelievably caring people.

I was very fortunate to work with so many outstanding people at Paul Brown Stadium. Coaches, especially Marvin, and the defensive staff -- Jay, David, Paul and Mark -- to ownership -- Mike, Katie, Troy, and Paul -- and everyone behind the scenes that does such an outstanding job to make the Bengals a winner.

In the time I was there we have climbed to the top of the AFC North division. We have become one of the better defensive teams in the NFL and we hopefully have become a team that the fans are proud to watch. The fans have been unbelievable to me. They are passionate and respectful. You have made my time in Cincinnati very special. THANK YOU. I will never forget the respect that you gave myself and my family.

To the players, past and present, it was truly an honor to coach you. I tried to give you my very best each day. You should be proud of what this franchise has become. You have my ultimate respect and my goal was to make each one of you better than when you walked in. I hope I did. You are family to me. We proved a lot of people wrong, didn't we? I loved watching you play on Sundays, and we always fought through the tough times. I am so proud to have been your coach. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you will always be part of my life.

All my best and thanks for everything.

Zim

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Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
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(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
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Houston
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UNLV 9:30 PM
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Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
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(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
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(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
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Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
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Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
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(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
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(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
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South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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