Black and Blue all over: Ferraro likely leaving

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
It seems likely the Minnesota Vikings will be looking for a new special teams coordinator, possibly as early as Thursday.

Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reports the team gave permission for current coordinator Paul Ferraro to interview with St. Louis, a move that would only occur if the Rams were serious about hiring him and if he wanted to move on. Otherwise, Vikings coach Brad Childress could have blocked the interview. Ferraro and new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo were college teammates at Springfield (Mass.) College.

Childress said earlier this month that he had no plans to fire Ferraro after the Vikings set an NFL record by giving up seven touchdowns on special teams in 2008. But Childress obviously chose not to stand in the way of Ferraro leaving.

Ferraro would be only the third departure from the original staff Childress hired upon his arrival in 2006. Zulgad reports that assistant special teams coach Brian Murphy is a candidate to replace Ferraro.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times recalls the days when Todd Haley, currently Arizona's offensive coordinator, was the Bears' receivers coach from 2001-03.

  • Bears defensive tackle Israel Idonije has changed agents and is now represented by Drew Rosenhaus, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. As a result, it's reasonable to assume Idonije will be seeking a contract extension this offseason.

  • Veteran defensive line coach Bill Johnson turned down an offer to join Green Bay and took a job with New Orleans instead, reports Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Former St. Louis assistant Brian Baker has recently interviewed for the position.

  • New Detroit defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham disassociated himself with the Tampa-2 scheme he ran in Kansas City and said things will be different with the Lions, according to David Birkett of the Oakland Press. Cunningham: "People here in town knew that I was different than that. My idea is to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, always has been, always will be."