In a stunning move, the Vikings have agreed to a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for Yannick Ngakoue, according to Adam Schefter. The twenty-five-year-old defensive end has been holding out for months as he refuses to sign his franchise tag. For the trade to become official, Ngakoue will need to sign his franchise tag. The Jaguars will receive a 2021 second-round pick and then somewhere between a third and a five in 2022.
This deal is exciting, stunning, and perplexing. For starters, what does Ngakoue’s arrival mean for Ifeadi Odenigbo? The Vikings have shown a willingness to move players along their defensive line. They’ve also repeatedly praised Odenigbo’s power. Is it possible that he’ll kick inside to 3T on a more permanent basis?
There are also implications for Danielle Hunter. Hunter has been sitting out of practice for weeks now with — in Mike Zimmer’s words — a “tweak.” The issue, of course, is that a tweak doesn’t keep star edge rushers out of the lineup for multiple weeks. Some have speculated that Hunter is holding out for a new deal. This possibility seems unlikely. Even if Hunter did hold out, the Vikings adore him, and would likely do everything possible to keep him happy. It’s far likelier that Hunter’s so-called tweak is actually a far more serious injury.
There are also plenty of questions surrounding the salary cap. The Vikings currently only have around $12.5 million in cap space; Ngakoue alone will cost nearly $18 million. Trading for Ngakoue necessitates either more trades, surprise cuts, restructuring deals, or having a long-term deal in place with Ngakoue already. Part of the issue, though, is that the Vikings are working with the knowledge that they’ll have a significantly lower cap in 2021, so it’s unlikely that they’d be willing to put huge money on the back end of the deal. For what it’s worth, some have speculated that Riley Reiff may be restructured.
At this stage, folks, we have a lot more questions than answers. Regardless of how things shake out, it is exciting that the Vikings made a trade for Ngakoue. If things work out, a Odenigbo-Hunter-Ngakoue pass rush trio will be a lot for offenses to handle. Fingers crossed that Hunter is happy and healthy, and that Spielman has a plan in place for the salary cap.