Ifeadi Odenigbo was in line for a bigger role this year, so the Vikings’ acquisition of Yannick Ngakoue has drawn his ire.
Once it became a foregone conclusion defensive end Everson Griffen would be gone, the Minnesota Vikings were lined up to replace him internally. Ifeadi Odenigbo, with seven sacks and 13 quarterback hits in a part-time role (34 percent snap rate) last year, was easily first in line for a bigger role in 2020.
Yannick Ngakoue lingered as a possible trade target for a lot of teams. On Sunday morning, the Vikings made the all-in move, trading a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 pick that could be as high as the third round for the franchise-tagged Ngakoue.
Ngakoue has been plenty productive, with 37.5 sacks, 85 quarterback hits and 42 tackles for loss over his four seasons in Jacksonville. He posted at least eight sacks in all four seasons, while only missing one game in total.
But Odenigo is clearly not pleased.
Ifeadi Odenigbo doesn’t seem thrilled with this trade
As well-traveled as Odenigbo had been before finding a role with the Vikings last year, it’s easy to say he’s not a proven commodity to replace a long-time stalwart like Griffen opposite Danielle Hunter. As the Vikings try to take heat off what will be a very young group of cornerbacks this year, a formidable pass rush will be critical to the success of the defense.
Ngakoue has a better track record, with a Pro Bowl on his resume, and the fact that he’s willing taking less than the full amount of the franchise tag for this year made the deal palatable for the Vikings.
No one likes to be replaced, so Odenigbo’s reaction to the Ngakoue trade isn’t all that shocking. But he will still be a key part of the Vikings defensive line this year, even if it’s not ultimately with the big uptick in playing time he expected.