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Yannick Ngakoue, Ravens, Vikings trade

Did Ravens or Vikings win Yannick Ngakoue trade?

The Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings orchestrated a bombshell on Thursday morning, with the Vikes sending Pro Bowl edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens.

Minnesota had traded for Ngakoue in the offseason to solidify the defensive front and negate the loss of veteran defensive end Everson Griffen. But after a a 1-5 start to the 2020 campaign, it seems the Vikings are getting value where they can.

Meanwhile, it appears Eric DeCosta and the Ravens are going for it.

Baltimore already poured resources into the defensive line in the offseason, trading for Calais Campbell and signing Derek Wolfe. The Ravens also tagged Matt Judon. Now, Ngakoue joins a loaded front seven.

Who won this trade? Are there any real losers? Time to break it down.

Ravens’ Return

The Ravens’ defensive front was already imposing its will on opposing quarterbacks prior to this move.

Baltimore ranks tied for second in the NFL with 22 sacks on the season. Campbell has been a beast inside, racking up 4.0 sacks and 10 quarterback hits while also racking up five passes defended. The decision to retain Judon is also paying dividends, as he has a team-high 11 quarterback hits on the year.

Pernell McPhee has also done an excellent job of setting the edge, and rookie linebacker Patrick Queen has 2.5 sacks. Don Martindale’s blitz-heavy scheme has also allowed defensive backs like Marlon Humphrey and DeShon Elliott to make plays in the backfield.

The addition of Ngakoue could legitimately give the Ravens the best defense in the NFL. Ngakoue has been a monster this year, posting 5.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven quarterback hits through the first six games. The 25-year-old was getting results despite the Vikings being without star defensive end Danielle Hunter and linebacker Anthony Barr.

It is reasonable to believe Ngakoue will have that much more success in Baltimore. Opposing offensive lines will have their hands full with Baltimore’s line. They cannot simply double Ngakoue or Campbell, because then the likes of Judon or McPhee can consistently win one-on-one matchups.

This is a very consequential move for the Ravens, who will hope a dominant defense can make for any potential offensive lapses later in the season.

Vikings’ Return

It is hard to say the Vikings “won” this trade considering they hoped Ngakoue would be a contributor on a playoff team.

Ngakoue did his part, but Minnesota’s inexperienced secondary as well as injuries and offensive struggles have put the Vikings in a rather compromising position.

So, Minnesota did what it could to recoup some of the draft capital it lost by trading for Ngakoue in the first place.

The Vikings gave up a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to acquire Yannick Ngakoue from the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year. Minnesota gets basically the same value back from the Ravens, acquiring a 2021 third-rounder and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2022.

This was probably the smart move for the Vikings to make, especially considering recent news Hunter will undergo surgery to repair a herniated disc.

The Vikings did not “lose” the trade, per se, but they certainly are not winners, either.