The Vikings almost certainly are bracing for the loss of defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Frazier appears to be a hot candidate for the head coaching jobs in Denver and St. Louis and he has interviewed in Detroit.
But could coach Brad Childress also end up having to conduct a search for a special teams coordinator? Yes, Childress said last week that Paul Ferraro’s job was safe and that he wasn’t planning to make any changes despite the Vikings’ issues on punt coverage this season. But that doesn’t mean Ferraro might not ask to be released from his contract.
Ferraro, you see, is very good friends with Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo is considered a contender for jobs with Detroit, the Jets and Denver and with the Giants losing to Philadelphia today, Spagnuolo could have a new job by the end of the week. There are many associated with the Vikings who expect Spagnuolo to attempt to hire Ferraro away from the Vikings. Ferraro has coached far more than special teams in his career and was Rutgers’ defensive coordinator from 2001-2004.
The friendship between Ferraro and Spagnuolo goes back to college when the two played football together at Springfield College in the late 1970s and early ’80s. If Ferraro did ask to leave Minnesota, Childress would have the option of promoting assistant special teams coach Brian Murphy to the coordinator’s position or could look outside.
Childress, of course, also could deny Ferraro permission to leave if he wanted. The Vikings coaches are under contract and NFL rules allow teams with assistant coaches under contract to deny those coaches chances to be hired as coordinators elsewhere.
In fact, Childress’ former boss, Eagles coach Andy Reid, is believed to have denied Spagnuolo an opportunity to go from being a position coach with the Eagles to the Vikings defensive coordinator in 2006.