Minnesota Vikings trade for Yannick Ngakoue and the Purple People Eaters are back

Yannick Ngakoue would instantly become the Cowboys' top edge rusher. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Yannick Ngakoue would instantly become the Cowboys' top edge rusher. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Yannick Ngakoue finally got his wish and was traded out of Jacksonville, landing in Minnesota.

It’s been a unique offseason for the NFL, with COVID-19 altering training camp regiments and cancelling preseason games, but that hasn’t stopped some teams from making moves to try and win a Super Bowl.

Namely, the Minnesota Vikings.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, when most NFL fans were either still sleeping, Rick Spielman was wide awake striking a deal that landed the Vikings one of the league’s best pass rushers to add to an defense that many considered to already be elite. Yannick Ngakoue is on his way from Jacksonville to Minnesota after the Vikings traded a second- and conditional fifth-round pick that could go as high a third-round pick to the Jaguars.

Vikings-Jaguars Yannick Ngakoue Trade Grades

Minnesota Vikings: A+

The trade ends an offseason-long standoff between Ngakoue and the Jaguars in which the restricted free agent refused to sign his tender and play for the team. It’s believed that once he reports to Minnesota, Ngakoue will sign his tender and play the 2020 season in purple.

Minnesota is in Super Bowl or Bust mode, as the team is looking to capitalize on the closing championship window that opened three years ago. Despite having a backup quarterback leading the charge, the Vikings marched to the NFC Championship Game and have been looking for ways to polish off their team and complete the Super Bowl mission ever since.

Ngakoue adds elite edge rushing prowess on a Vikings defense that already boasts the talents of Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, and Eric Kendricks. Minnesota now has elite defenders on all three levels of its defense, with Ngakoue and Hunter on the line, Barr and Kendrick anchoring the middle, and Smith and Anthony Harris in the secondary.

Simply put, the Purple People Eaters are back, and they’re hungry.

The addition of Ngakoue is a clear case of the rich becoming richer, and was a move the Vikings needed to make to ensure that the likes of Aaron Rodgers and whatever the Lions have going on right now on offense remains in check (also, RIP Mitchell Trubisky if he ever faces this reloaded defense).

Jacksonville Jaguars: B-

For the Jaguars, it’s a trade that cashes out on Ngakoue’s talents while recouping some of the value he provided. Jacksonville was holding out for multiple first-round picks at one point but slowly lowered their asking price. Landing what could end up being a second and a third round pick for Ngakoue is a pretty decent haul, even if it’s not what the desired return initially was. It seemed an untenable relationship and worse outcomes to these types of situations have happened before. The Jaguars might have wanted more but they should be happy with what they got.

It’s hard to call trading away a Pro Bowler like Ngakoue a win, but the Jaguars were going to lose him one way or another and now have pieces to help rebuild with as a result. The question now is, will they end up doing anything with their new resources? There’s the possibility of tanking for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, and the added draft capital means there’s more room to maneuver in the 2021 Draft than before.

Jacksonville could compete this year, but chances are that won’t happen. The Jaguars were a fun story with Gardner Minshew in 2019, but they lack the talent to match the Titans, Texans, and Colts — all of whom will be in a race for the AFC South crown that the Jaguars don’t have the motor to keep up in. Ngakoue was a major talent, but he didn’t fit the timeline the Jaguars are on and he flat our didn’t want to be a part of the team’s future. Recouping what they did has to be seen as a minor victory.