Yannick Ngakoue Leaves Strong Message at 1st Vikings Practice [WATCH]

Yannick Ngakoue

Getty Yannick Ngakoue gave a short but sweet introduction to Vikings fans at his first practice.

Yannick Ngakoue has entered the building.

The former Jaguars Pro Bowl defensive end was traded to the Vikings on Sunday for two draft picks and, after finalizing his deal with the team, made his first appearance at training camp on Thursday, wearing No. 91.


Thursday’s practice was moved indoors which allowed limited media access, but the Vikings did give the 25-year-old a short, but sweet introduction to fans.

“I’m just excited to get to work and to get to quarterbacks,” Ngakoue told the camera as he’s set to join Danielle Hunter as the team’s starting pass-rushing tandem that speculatively ranks among the NFL’s best.

Ngakoue, who was franchise-tagged to a one-year $17.8 million contract he refused to sign with the Jaguars, agreed to a $12 million contract for the 2020 season with the Vikings. The Vikings gave the Jaguars a 2021 second-round pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick in the trade.

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What Yannick Brings to the Table

Ngakoue, drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft, has experienced a lull in his career over the past two seasons in Jacksonville. After finishing with the fourth-best pass-rush grade (90.5) during his Pro Bowl season in 2017, he has since finished respectively 17th and 20th in the following two seasons.

Much like Hunter, Ngakoue has shown many moves in his repertoire and can beat the offensive line inside and on the edge. He’s an all-or-nothing attacker of the backfield who can get lost against the run but when he breaks through the line has shown to wreak havoc.

In 2017, Ngakoue forced six fumbles and another in the postseason, recorded 12 sacks and 81 pressures. He played a hand in five of the Jaguars’ 12 defensive TDs since 2016. His 14 forced fumbles from 2016 to 2019 ranks fourth in the league. Ngakoue ranked second in Jaguars history with 37.5 sacks in his first four seasons, although he hasn’t had double-digit sacks since 2017.

Ngakoue, despite playing with a hamstring injury, had a pass-rush win rate of 21 percent as an edge rusher last season, per NFL Next Gen Stats, which ranked higher than Griffen (17 percent) and Hunter (15 percent), Ngakoue’s new teammate, per Cronin.

Considering Ngakoue has had the time off to rehab his hamstring and will now play under the direction of expert defensive end coach Andre Patterson, he could break through again in 2020.

Danielle Hunter Misses 15th Consecutive Practice

Cronin reported that Hunter did stretch at training camp on Thursday but again sat out — making Thursday’s practice the 15th straight practice he has been sidelined.

The Vikings have yet to disclose the nature of Hunter’s injury. Coach Mike Zimmer has held to his “little tweak” diagnosis of Hunter’s absence at practice and that he is improving every day.

In the event Hunter does miss time, Ifeadi Odenigbo would replace him at defensive end. Odenigbo was poised to start with Hunter before Ngakoue’s arrival but could still start in the defensive interior.


Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.