The Vikings made a splash by trading for Jacksonville pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Daniel House analyzed Ngakoue's 2019 film and shared what fans can expect from him.
by: Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL)
The Vikings have always built their defense around a pair of dynamic edge rushers. After veteran Everson Griffen departed for Dallas, Minnesota decided to pursue other players on the market. The front office wanted to find another weapon to complement Danielle Hunter. On Sunday, the Vikings accomplished this goal.
Minnesota aggressively upgraded its defensive line by trading for Jacksonville pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue.
Ngakoue was franchise tagged by the Jaguars in March. The 25-year-old pass rusher refused to sign his tender and requested a trade. Initially, Jacksonville reportedly wanted a first-round pick for Ngakoue, according to ESPN. As the season inched closer, the Jaguars decided to take less compensation.
Minnesota traded a 2021 second-round selection and a conditional fifth-round pick to complete the deal. Ngakoue also restructured his one-year tender and took nearly $6 million less to play in Minnesota, according to Albert Breer. Breer said Yannick agreed to a one-year, $12 million tender to facilitate the trade.
Since Ngakoue didn’t complete a deal before July 17, the Vikings can’t negotiate a long-term contract until 2021. This means Ngakoue, running back Dalvin Cook and safety Anthony Harris may all reach free agency at the same time.
Minnesota is currently right up against the cap, but other roster moves may be on the horizon. Left tackle Riley Reiff was reportedly asked to take a pay cut, per the Athletic’s Chad Graff. If he doesn’t agree to a new contract, the team may release him to clear $11 million in salary cap space (post-June 1 cut).
Ultimately, the move to trade for Ngakoue shows the Vikings are all in this season. Minnesota may have the best young pass rushing duo in the league. In just four years, Ngakoue has posted 37.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. Conversely, during his first four seasons, Danielle Hunter accumulated 40 sacks. Ngakoue and Hunter are extremely disruptive players and win off a variety of pass rushing moves. Both of them are just 25 years old and haven’t even entered the prime portion of their careers.
The Vikings' enhanced pass rush will also help ease a young secondary along. Head coach Mike Zimmer has built Minnesota's defense around a dynamic and versatile defensive line. By having a talented front-four, he can be more aggressive with his coverage schemes. Ngakoue's skill set adds another dimension to the defensive system.
Ngakoue brings detailed pass rushing skills to the Vikings' defensive line. While watching every snap from Yannick's 2019 season, I noted the variety of moves he utilized.
In the clip below, he cross-chops hard with his left arm and turns the corner. This forced Patrick Mahomes to step up in the pocket. There are quite a few instances where Ngakoue bends the edge and creates potential sack opportunties for interior defensive linemen. On film, he often pairs this chop up with a hard right-hand club.
Ngakoue occasionally stood up inside and created pressure off stunts. This versatility is going to fit very well in the #Vikings' defense.— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) August 30, 2020
Zimmer likes to deploy many different fronts and sub-packages. He can certainly use Yannick's speed and length creatively. pic.twitter.com/4rtqAhIQah
The Vikings have so many players in their front-seven who can blitz, drop and cover ground. Ngakoue occasionally displayed his athleticism by dropping into coverage. Yannick's movement skills and range will allow the coaching staff to create unique alignments for him.