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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