If it wasn’t clear before, the trade for Yannick Ngakoue shows the Minnesota Vikings are all-in for 2020.
Yannick Ngakoue wanted to be traded by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he has finally gotten his wish. According to multiple reports, Ngakoue is on his way to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional fifth round-pick that could go as high as the third round in 2022.
Leaving aside the mechanics of the conditions attached to the second draft pick, the Vikings are possibly going to give up two Day 2 draft picks for one guaranteed year of Ngakoue on the franchise tag. Maybe the Jaguars could have gotten a slightly better return, but the Vikings are leaving no mystery about being all-in for 2020.
With little in the way of cap space, the Vikings have to do some contract restructuring to make room for the just under $17.8 million Ngakoue is scheduled to make on the franchise tag. He will of course sign the tender to facilitate the trade, but he can and it appears he will take less than that $17.8 million for this year.
Ngakoue made it clear he wanted out Jacksonville, and Pro Football Talk reported there was at least one other team from which he would have taken even less than the Vikings will pay him.
If only due to having minimal cap space, the Vikings were slated to replace Everson Griffen’s pass rush production opposite Danielle Hunter internally. But general manager Rick Spielman can never be ruled out of making a big move (see his past comments about Percy Harvin and just this offseason about Stefon Diggs, before trading them).
Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer both finally got multi-year contract extensions this offseason, through 2023 in Zimmer’s case with Spielman’s deal presumably to match, to go with a new deal for quarterback Kirk Cousins extending him through 2022.
The Vikings automatically put themselves in a win-now, Super Bowl or bust window when they signed Cousins to a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal in 2018. They extended that window by extending Cousins, and keeping the two prominent decision-makers in place. So the trade for Ngakoue is just another part of the ongoing win-now plan in Minnesota.