The St. Louis Cardinals have asked the Washington Redskins for permission to speak with assistant head coach/defense Richie Petitbon about their vacant head coaching position, Petitbon said yesterday.

The Cardinals, who fired Jim Hanifan after a season-ending loss to the Redskins, are the second team to express an interest in Petitbon. The New Orleans Saints, who fired Bum Phillips during the season, were the first.

Petitbon said he has not yet been interviewed for either job . . .

Ken Houston, the former Washington and Houston all-pro who has been coaching defensive backs, and seven colleagues have been fired in an almost clean sweep of the Houston Oilers' staff, which was headed by Hugh Campbell until his December dismissal.

Only Jerry Glanville, the defensive coordinator who served as interim coach after Campbell was fired, and Bill Walsh, offensive line coach, were not given walking papers . . .

The head of New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs has accused Giants punter Sean Landeta of scalping tickets for New York's wild-card playoff against the San Francisco 49ers.

Landeta allegedly sold $22 and $25 tickets for $50 and gave buyers an autographed picture with a purchase, James J. Barry, the state's consumer affairs director, said in a release. Barry indicated he would not seek to have Landeta prosecuted.

But he said, "The Division of Consumer Affairs has to contend with professional ticket scalpers. The last thing we need is for professional athletes to get involved" . . .

Andre Tippett of the New England Patriots, the AFC's sack champion, is United Press International's defensive player of the year in the American Football Conference, beating Los Angeles Raiders end Howie Long in a close vote by sportswriters.

The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Tippett, a four-year pro who says he has tried to emulate the New York Giants' Lawrence Taylor, plays outside linebacker and moves up to left defensive end when the Patriots use a four-man front . . .

Indianapolis linebacker Duane Bickett, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound talent from USC, is the Associated Press' NFL defensive rookie of the year. He drew 26 media votes to 15 for end Reggie White, a USFL-seasoned Philadelphia Eagle.