Vikings To Acquire Yannick Ngakoue From Jaguars

Yannick Ngakoue finally got his wish. As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com was the first to report, the Jaguars have traded their disgruntled defensive end to the Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round selection that could become a fourth- or third-round choice.

Ngakoue has wanted out of Jacksonville for some time. Last July, he became upset when then-executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin abruptly ended extension negotiations with the 2016 third-rounder, and while he did suit up for the club in the 2019 season, he made it clear this offseason that the relationship between him and the team was beyond repair.

The Jaguars put the franchise tag on him, valued at $17.8MM, but he did not sign the tag, and all indications were that, if he wasn’t traded, he was going to stay away from the team until Week 10 of the 2020 season. That would have been the deadline for him to be able to count 2020 as an accredited year towards free agency.

Given his very public unhappiness with Jacksonville, the fact that the deadline for tagged players to sign an extension passed on July 15, and his high franchise tag number, the Jags didn’t have a ton of leverage. But GM Dave Caldwell managed to finagle two draft picks out of the Vikings, and Schefter says the 2022 fifth-rounder will become a fourth-rounder if Ngakoue makes the Pro Bowl in 2020 and will become a third-rounder if he makes the Pro Bowl and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.

From the Vikings’ perspective, that’s a relatively small price to pay for the chance to bookend Ngakoue with another talented young pass rusher, Danielle Hunter. The team lost longtime stalwart Everson Griffen to the Cowboys earlier this month, and as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes, Minnesota began working on an Ngakoue deal as soon as it became clear Griffen wasn’t coming back (Twitter link).

In order to make the trade work, the Vikings did have to create some cap room. Further proving just how desperate he was to get out of Jacksonville, Ngakoue reduced his 2020 pay from $17.8MM to just below $13MM to facilitate the deal (Twitter link via Albert Breer of SI.com). Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com reports that Minnesota could also rework an existing contract and names LT Riley Reiff as a potential restructure candidate. Cronin says the team will not cut a player just for salary cap purposes (Twitter links).

However, Cronin points out that the Ngakoue acquisition could mean that the team is not going to reach an extension with running back Dalvin Cook (Twitter link). The two sides recently agreed to table contract negotiations, and without a major cost-cutting move or two, Cook may be destined for free agency in 2021.

But that’s another story for another day. For now, the Vikings have solidified their status as one of the top teams in the NFC, and the Hunter-Ngakoue combination will be a formidable one for opposing offenses, especially when considering the similar excellence the team enjoys in its LB and DB corps.

Ngakoue is not particularly strong against the run, but he has averaged over nine sacks per season over his first four years in the league, and he has also shown some serious play-making ability. He has forced 14 fumbles to date, and as Schefter writes, the Maryland product is directly responsible for five of the 12 defensive touchdowns the Jaguars have scored since 2016. Cronin observes in a full-length piece that Ngakoue had a pass-rush win rate of 21% as an edge rusher last season, which ranked higher than Griffen (17%) and Hunter (15%).

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes that the Vikings plan to sign Ngakoue to a long-term deal after the 2020 season (video link). While Minnesota will have a number of other contract issues to address, pairing Ngakoue and Hunter together for the foreseeable future will be an indubitably tempting proposition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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32 comments on “Vikings To Acquire Yannick Ngakoue From Jaguars

  1. wagner13

    Looks like a pretty fair trade to me. If Yannick walks, Minnesota could still snatch a compensatory pick. For the time being, they get a dependable pass-rusher to properly replace the aging Everson Griffen.

    Jacksonville gets rid of a disgruntled veteran that refused to contribute anyway and accelerates the rebuild with a pair of draft picks

    • Altoidman

      Please. Biggest misconception of our state. Yes, the winters usually suck, but there’s things that suck in the cities/states of all teams. Plus, they play indoors.

      • gmmayock

        Playing is only 3 hours a week. The have to live everyday in that environment. Waking up to 2 feet of snow and -10 below isn’t fun.

        • lagerbagels

          Football season ends in January (or early Feb if in SB) then he can go wherever he wants… it’s the NBA players that need to endure the full winter

          • Altoidman

            This. It may snow in December, but the harshest is in January and February…which lately my team hasn’t made it that far…

  2. Gus Leggett

    This makes me wonder how injured Danielle Hunter? He has yet to practice this season. If Hunter is healthy enough for the season opener, then this should really help out the young defensive backs.

    • Rory Parks

      All reports are that he’s fine, he’s just being kept out as a precaution. Week 1 is still seen as likely.

  3. JJB0811

    Jags MO draft good players then ship them out before their second contract. All the while the players openly complain how bad the franchise is run. Great way to get FA’s to visit.

    You should do a poll of the most inept franchises. I’d throw Jags, Browns, Bengals, Lions, Jets, into the mix.

      • JJB0811

        Its easier to list losing franchises than winning ones. That’s bad for football. Throw in the Chargers as well.

    • How do you list inept franchises without including the dumpster fire Washington Football Team?

      • The Giants’ problems have just been a few bad moves (holding onto Eli too long, not addressing the OL and then signing Solder when they did, hiring Gettleman) and injuries (OBJ, Barkley). They fooled themselves into thinking they were contenders when they should have been rebuilding.

        Prior to that, they had plenty of success and will likely be a middle-of-the-pack team this year. I wouldn’t call them one of the most inept yet. If they are horrible again this year and don’t fire Gettleman, then yes, put them on the list.

  4. Ak185

    This a perfect fit for both Ngakoue and the Vikes, scheme wise. Really good trade, if his play remains as it was and they work out an extension.

    • twolvesaremynightmare

      He will actually get even better now. The Vikings have one of the very best DL coaches plus Zimmer is one of the very best defensive minds in the league. Plus he’s likely gonna have a chip on his shoulder and he knows he’s still gotta earn his extension on the field so I expect 14 or more sacks with 3-4 FF & a couple recoveries

  5. bradthebluefish

    Tom Coughlin seems Grade A jerk. All he does is yell at players and yell at coaches and yell at the media. So go figures he’d have a temper tantrum during negotiations.

    • Ak185

      To be fair, he did wonders for the Giants, and is still likely the best head coach in Jaguars’ history…even if they did blame him for everything.

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