Yannick Ngakoue Traded to Ravens from Vikings for Draft Picks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2020

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) looks on in the first quarter during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Falcons defeated the Vikings 40-23. (AP Photo/David Berding)
David Berding/Associated Press

Yannick Ngakoue is on the move once again.

The Minnesota Vikings announced Thursday they traded Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Vikings sent a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2022 to Baltimore. Minnesota acquired Ngakoue from the Jacksonville Jaguars in August, giving up a 2021 second-rounder and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2022.

Ngakoue and new teammate Mark Ingram II reacted to the news:

The defensive end is playing under the franchise tag this season, and The MMQB's Albert Breer reported at the time of his move to Minnesota that he was taking less money to play for the Vikings.

Still, that raised the risk of Ngakoue becoming a one-year rental for the Vikings, which is what happened with Jadeveon Clowney and the Seattle Seahawks in 2019.

Trading for the 2017 Pro Bowler was a sensible bet for Minnesota when the team still harbored hopes of winning the NFC North and going deep in the playoffs. Following a 1-5 start, the Vikings' postseason chances may have already fallen by the wayside.

In hindsight, Minnesota would've been better off never trading for Ngakoue in the first place. General manager Rick Spielman was at least able to recoup some of the team's original investment.

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The Ravens are in a better position to benefit from Ngakoue's contributions. At 5-1, they're a half-game behind Pittsburgh Steelers for first place in the AFC North.

The 25-year-old has five sacks, 10 tackles and two forced fumbles in 2020. He joins a unit that already ranks fourth in defensive efficiency, per Football Outsiders. His presence will undoubtedly help a defensive line that's ninth in adjusted sack rate.

The Ravens will now have Ngakoue at one end and five-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell on the opposite side. Together, they helped the Jaguars tie for seventh in sacks (47) a season ago. Campbell was acquired for a fifth-round pick.

Ngakoue's contract situation still looms as a long-term concern, and general manager Eric DeCosta will have some difficult decisions ahead since Matthew Judon, Jimmy Smith, Matt Skura and Ronnie Stanley were already due to hit free agency. Bringing back all five will be almost impossible.

Lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year would make it a little easier to watch some of the team's key players leave.