Mike Zimmer helped bring Vontaze Burfict into the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2012. He championed the fast, smart and uber-aggressive linebacker. And then he brought out the very best in him a year later when Burfict made his only Pro Bowl and was second-team All-Pro in Zimmer's last year as Bengals defensive coordinator.
In other words, the Vikings head coach is a big fan of the current Raiders middle linebacker, whom the Vikings will face Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
And yet, Burfict's sullied reputation as one of the league's dirtiest players, caused even Zimmer to send a message to Oakland and the league office via Wednesday's news conference.