Paul Guenther to run Cincinnati Bengals' defense

The Cincinnati Bengals have used an in-house option to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy.

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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a person informed of the move, that linebackers coach Paul Guenther will take over the defense after Mike Zimmer accepted the head coach job of the Minnesota Vikings.

The move ends speculation surrounding Guenther, who had been connected to two other teams. NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reported that Zimmer would target Guenther to join him in Minnesota. The Washington Post reported that Guenther was "in line" to join the Washington Redskins in some capacity if Zimmer did not get the Vikings job and remained with the Bengals.

In the end, Guenther climbed the ladder from within. He inherits a defense that ranked third in the NFL during the regular season, giving up just 305.5 yards per game. Guenther also can look forward to the return of All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, whose 2013 season was cut short by a knee injury.

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