Who needs coffee? Early Sunday morning, the Minnesota Vikings got the day off to a piping-hot start with a huge trade.
Jaguars agreed to trade franchise DE Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota for a second- and conditional fifth-round pick that could go as high a third-round pick, league sources tell ESPN. Ngakoue still has to sign his tender, but trade is in place and Ngakoue is expected to be a Viking.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 30, 2020
This potentially gives the Vikings the best pair of young edge rushers in the game. In Danielle Hunter and now Ngakoue, that’s two 25-year-olds with a combined 86 sacks over the past four seasons. The past two seasons, Hunter has had 29 combined by himself.
Ngakoue has been unhappy in Jacksonville. He wanted a massive contract, was franchise tagged and earlier this summer fired his agent in order to facilitate a trade. He apparently got his wish and appears headed to Minnesota. Will a long-term deal follow?
Ngakoue has yet to sign his franchise tender and because he failed to do so prior to the July 15 deadline, he must play this season under the tag, valued at $17.8 million, before he can sign a long-term deal.
The one bit of concern for the Vikings is that Hunter hasn't practiced since Aug. 14, even though head coach Mike Zimmer has called what Hunter is dealing with as a “slight tweak.” Still, there are other reports that suggest he could start practicing soon.
Jags loaded in 2021 NFL draft
The Jaguars might not be tanking this season, per se, but they are loaded for a rebuild.
Following multiple trades, Jacksonville now has eight picks in the first five rounds next year, including two first-rounders and two second-rounders. If Ngakoue reaches certain performance levels in Minnesota, the Jaguars could end up with multiple picks in the each of the first three rounds.
According to Schefter, the fifth-round pick would become a fourth-rounder if Ngakoue makes the Pro Bowl this season, and it could vault to a third-rounder if Ngakoue is a Pro Bowler and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.
The assumption is that the Jaguars are among the teams most enamored with Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick next year if Gardner Minshew doesn’t pan out this season.
The Jaguars also drafted two first-rounders this year: CB CJ Henderson and LSU pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. They had 12 draft picks this spring, including three fourth-rounders.
This is a young team now, and head coach Doug Marrone will have to win some games to prove to ownership that he’s the man to lead the club going forward. But if this very inexperienced roster can’t do that, the Jaguars could have a boatload of young talent and draft ammo that would make it an attractive spot for a bright, young coach.
A shot at coaching Lawrence would be very alluring for many coaches.
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