Rick, Find the Money and Make This Man a Minnesota Viking
Around the time of the NFL Draft, it was rumored that the Minnesota Vikings were hitting the trade market to go big-name hunting. During the first two days of the draft, rumors involving the Vikings and left tackle Trent Williams ran wild. That trade would’ve given the Vikings two really good tackles, in both Williams and Brian O’Neill.
The Vikings ultimately struck out, though. Williams was dealt to San Francisco on the third day of the draft… And yet, you have to applaud General Manager Rick Spielman for trying to add another star to a team, expected to compete for a Super Bowl again this year.
As we head into the dog days of summer, could Spielman be going after a star on the defensive side of the ball? Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports suggested that the Vikings could solve the Jacksonville Jaguars problem by taking Yannick Ngakoue off their hands…
Tired of the back and forth @Jaguars. Let’s get this shit done.— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) April 20, 2020
Ngakoue clearly wants out of Jacksonville. Ever since the former South Carolina Gamecock came into the league as a third-round draft pick in 2016, he’s been one of the premier edge-rushers in football.
Ngakoue has 37.5 sacks in his four-year career. This includes a 12.0 sack season in 2017, when he made his only pro bowl. That season, the Jaguars made the AFC Championship, but ultimately lost to the New England Patriots. He’s missed just one game in four years, which came during last season. Productive pass rushers who stay healthy cost a pretty penny in this league…
If the Vikings were to make a trade for the Jacksonville star, what would a deal look like? Benjamin suggests that it would look something like this:
It would require a hefty price, though. There was a reason Spielman did so much wheeling-and-dealing during the draft. Pairing Ngakoue with Danielle Hunter, a two-time pro bowler and the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50.0 career sacks, would give the Vikings an elite 1-2 punch on the edges. This would be even more formidable than the combo of Hunter and Everson Griffen.
The biggest obstacle other than draft picks to acquire Ngakoue would be his salary. According to Spotrac, the Vikings would be taking on $17.788 million in salary for this year alone. Ngakoue then becomes a free agent, which would require more money to keep him around. Yet another situation where the Vikings would have to make major cuts to keep Ngakoue here.
But still This trade makes a ton of sense due to the young secondary Minnesota will have this season. First round pick Jeff Gladney and third round pick Cameron Dantzler should be very good in the purple and gold. However with both being rookies this season, a strong pass rush (92 combined career sacks between the two) will be needed to help take pressure off of the secondary. Ngakoue also seems extremely ready for a fresh start:
To my new future team whomever it may be. I can’t wait to bring great discipline, integrity, and work ethic to that new city. Wherever I may land your going to get the hardest working defensive end in the league !?— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) April 20, 2020
Since being in the Vikings front office since 2006, Spielman has been aggressive in trying to bring stars to the land of 10,000 lakes. As Vice president of player personnel, Spielman was involved in trading for Jared Allen in 2008, re-acquiring Randy Moss in 2010 and the signing of Brett Favre in 2009. When he became GM in 2012, his most notable trade was acquiring Sam Bradford prior to the 2016 season.
After making the NFC Divisional round last year and revamping their defense, this trade with Jacksonville would make a ton of sense for the Vikings. Ngakoue would be icing on the cake for a solid 2020 offseason.
Hunter Plante | Minnesota Sports Fan