Minnesota Vikings defensive end Yannick Ngakoue got his wish by being traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars. It appears he is already taking full advantage of the change of scenery.
Ngakoue admits that he is excited for the fresh start with the Vikings, via Chad Graff of The Athletic:
Yannick Ngakuoe said getting traded to the Vikings is "a breath of fresh air. … I just needed a fresh start."
— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) September 4, 2020
Nagouke’s comments are certainly understandable given how his tenure in Jacksonville transpired. The team had been in full tank mode and he made it clear that there was no potential for a long-term future with them.
Despite initially being franchise tagged by the Jaguars, Ngakoue was ultimately traded to the Vikings in exchange for a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 draft pick. He even opted to take a pay cut of $5.788 million in order to help make the deal come to fruition since he was all in on being elsewhere for the 2020 NFL season.
The Jaguars continue to rid themselves of any players that could serve as valuable trade assets and are now a shell of the championship-caliber team they were in 2017. There is also growing concern about the precedent their approach will set for teams in a rebuild and players on a franchise tag.
Fortunately, Ngakoue can take solace in the fact that he is now with a Vikings team fully intent on establishing themselves as bonafide playoff contenders. He is slated to take on an integral role as the replacement for defensive end Everson Griffen following his departure in free agency.
It will be interesting to see if the relocation helps Ngakoue get back to his Pro Bowl form when he finished the 2017 campaign with 12.0 sacks and six forced fumbles.