25-year-old star defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is officially a member of the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings and Jaguars formally announced the trade on Monday afternoon.
In return for Ngakoue, the Vikings sent Jacksonville their 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick, which could rise as high as a third-rounder if Ngakoue is a first-ballot Pro Bowler and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.
This was just a formality, but it's always important to make sure things are official. It means Ngakoue passed a physical with the Vikings and will be ready to start practicing as soon as he clears the COVID-19 testing protocols.
Vikings coaches, including Mike Zimmer, have mostly declined to comment on the deal over the past two days because it wasn't yet official. "We’ve been looking for another pass rusher for quite a while," is the extent of what Zimmer said on Sunday. "I think that’s important when you have a young secondary as well. If it goes through then I think that adds to what we can do."
Several other coaches have commented on the impact adding another elite pass rusher could have on the Vikings' young secondary.
“Any time you have the ability to affect the passing game, either through rushing the quarterback, getting pressure on the quarterback, getting a sack on the quarterback, that definitely has a trickle down effect into how it affects the secondary," said defensive backs coach Daronte Jones. "So we’re all excited as an organization to have that addition. We’re looking forward to him joining us. I know the guys on the back end, we’re all excited."
"If you can get the quarterback off the spot, it helps the secondary out so much," said co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson. "If the quarterback is throwing the ball too short or too far, you speed up his rhythm and he’s got to get the ball out of his hands before the receivers have a chance to break off their routes. It helps tremendously."
In 2018, Ngakoue ranked fourth in the NFL with 51 pressures, according to Pro Football Reference. He was named a Pro Bowler in 2017. Across four seasons with the Jaguars, he recorded 37.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles.
Ngakoue's burst, power, and array of pass rushing moves will make him a very valuable piece of Zimmer's defense. The addition will prevent teams from focusing too much attention on Danielle Hunter on the other side of the Vikings' D-line.