After an uncertain future in Jacksonville, Yannick Ngakoue now has a new home.
The Minnesota Vikings have acquired Ngakoue from the Jaguars for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2022, sources tell NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The team later made the deal official.
ESPN first reported the story.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport later reported, per an informed source, that both sides agreed to a one-year contract worth a few million less than the franchise tag, which is what it took to get the initial deal in Jacksonville done. Ngakoue was set to make $17.8 million with his former team, but he will now play under a revised $12 million deal, electing to play for less to leave Duval, Pelissero reported Sunday evening. There is also no no-tag clause in the deal, so the Vikings can use the franchise tag on the pass rusher in 2021, Pelissero added. Thus, the best scenario for all involved would be a long-term pact (which cannot happen until after the upcoming season as he was franchised this year).
It's evident Ngakoue wanted out of Jacksonville in a big way as he took a big pay cut (roughly 30% this season) and didn't command a no-tag clause. Furthermore, as reported by Pelissero, he was due $17.88 million on the franchise tag tender this season with Jacksonville, which would have come with no personal income tax as is a bonus of playing in Florida. Thus, Ngakoue gave up roughly $6 million to get a fresh start with the Vikings.
Ngakoue posted a statement on Twitter Sunday in regard to the transaction, which indicates his approval. Thus, as Rapoport reported initially, he will begin the process of heading to Minnesota for physical and COVID-19 testing. He's expected to sign when he goes through the protocols.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer declined to comment on the pending trade while talking with reporters, but did offer insight on the importance of what adding a top-notch edge rusher does for the defense.
"Well, we've been looking for a pass rusher for quite a while and I think that's important when you have a young secondary, as well," Zimmer said. "So, if it goes through, then I think that adds to what we can do."
Ngakoue's dissatisfaction in Jacksonville has been widely publicized since being the only player not to sign his franchise tag tender this offseason. With the deadline to reach a long-term deal having passed -- which is what Ngakoue has been after amid a holdout -- the Vikings will now finalize a restructured one-year tender to complete the trade, sources tell Pelissero.
Along with the 2021 second-round pick, Pelissero reports that the conditional fifth-rounder in 2022 can become a fourth-round pick should Ngakoue be a first-ballot Pro Bowl selection, or a third-round pick if Ngakoue is a first-ballot Pro Bowler and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.
Ngakoue has started all but one game in his four-year career and has earned a reputation as one of the league's premier pass rushers. The 25-year-old had 37.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, and two interceptions in 63 games during his time in Jacksonville.
Ngakoue is a welcomed addition to a Minnesota defense that will line him up opposite Danielle Hunter, giving the Vikes a stellar pair of young pass rushers. Hunter, 25, recently became the quickest to 50 sacks in NFL history this past season. Although Hunter hasn't practiced in two weeks for precautionary reasons, Pelissero added that he isn't expected to miss extended time.