University of Minnesota
Before the NFL, Cerrato served as the football recruiting coordinator under Lou Holtz at the University of Notre Dame. During that time, the Irish played in four Bowl games and won the 1988 NCAA National Championship.
San Francisco 49ers
Cerrato was with the San Francisco 49ers for nine seasons. He joined San Francisco in 1991 as the Director of College Scouting, helping to draft players including Ted Washington, Ricky Watters, Dana Stubblefield and Bryant Young. In 1994, the 49ers were the Super Bowl XXIX Championship team. In 1995, Cerrato was promoted to Director of Player Personnel, overseeing all college scouting and draft activities as well as pro scouting of NFL players and opponents.
First stint with Redskins
Cerrato was hired by the Redskins in 1999. During this time, he acquired older big name stars like Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Irving Fryar, Jeff George, and Mark Carrier. He was then fired by Marty Schottenheimer in 2001. During his brief hiatus from the Redskins, Cerrato worked for ESPN as a college analyst.
Second stint with Redskins
Cerrato was subsequently rehired by Daniel Snyder in 2002 as Vice President for Football Operations. The Redskins have posted a cumulative 52-65 regular season won–lost record during this second stint.
On Thursday, December 17, 2009, the Redskins announced that Cerrato had resigned as Executive Vice-President of Football Operations. When asked whether Cerrato was offered another position in the Redskins front office, owner Daniel Snyder stated simply that it was “time to move on.”
On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, the Redskins suspended Albert Haynesworth for four games, without pay, for conduct detrimental to the team. Vinny Cerrato had signed Albert Haynesworth for $100 million. After feuding all year with coach Mike Shannahan, the Redskins finally gave up and suspended him.