Ferraro joins Rams as LB coach

January 22nd, 2009 – 9:06 AM by Judd Zulgad

Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier didn’t wind up going to St. Louis, but the team has lost one of its coordinators to the Rams.

Paul Ferraro, who served as the Vikings special teams coordinator since Brad Childress took over as head coach in 2006, has resigned to become the Rams linebackers coach, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The move reunites Ferraro with his good friend and former college teammate Steve Spagnuolo, who was hired as St. Louis’ head coach last weekend. The two played football together at Springfield (Mass.) College. Frazier had been a finalist for the Rams’ head coaching position.

There were some questions about Ferraro’s job security in Minnesota after the Vikings gave up an NFL record seven touchdowns on special teams this season, including four on punt returns. But Childress said at his season-ending news conference that he had no plans to make a change.

It had been speculated that if Spagnuolo got a head coaching job that he would try to hire Ferraro. The Vikings could have blocked that from happening because Ferraro had a year left on his contact, but the team elected to give him permission to speak to St. Louis after the Rams made that request this week.

This will be Ferraro’s first job as a defensive assistant at the NFL level, although he had plenty of experience coaching on that side of the ball in college.

Ferraro coached at the collegiate level for 23 years and was the defensive coordinator at Rutgers from 2001 to ’04 before joining the Carolina Panthers in 2005. He spent one season as a special teams and strength and conditioning assistant with the Panthers.

The Vikings could look internally to replace Ferraro. Brian Murphy has spent the past three seasons working as Ferraro’s assistant on special teams. Murphy was an assistant on the University of Wisconsin staff for six seasons before joining the Vikings.

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