EAGAN, Minn. — Yannick Ngakoue is not troubled by leaving practically $6 million on the desk when he agreed to a one-year, $12 million cope with the Minnesota Vikings after being traded by Jacksonville Jaguars this week.
As a substitute, the defensive finish views becoming a member of the Vikings as a “recent begin” and a “breath of recent air.”
“Cash was by no means my drive coming into this enterprise,” Ngakoue stated Friday. “It has by no means been my drive. I’ve at all times needed to be a great-caliber man, great-quality man, on and off the sphere. I simply wanted a recent begin, and Minnesota was [the team] that gave me the chance to proceed to dwell out my dream. I am appreciative and excited.”
Jacksonville had positioned the franchise tag, price $17.778 million, on the 25-year-old edge rusher this offseason. Ngakoue refused to signal the tender and publicly vented about his want to play for an additional workforce.
Minnesota grew to become the vacation spot for Ngakoue after the Vikings seemed so as to add one other pass-rusher late in coaching camp upon failing to re-sign Everson Griffen, who spent 10 seasons with the workforce earlier than taking a one-year cope with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent.
“The Vikings sort of got here out of the blue, and I used to be excited to know that,” Ngakoue stated. “There have been some groups that had curiosity, they usually shied away attributable to simply tough conditions. We could not get issues achieved, however I simply admire Minnesota a lot for having religion in me and with the ability to grasp me and get me right here.”
As a result of Ngakoue didn’t signal his tender by the July 15 deadline, Minnesota is unable to work out a long-term cope with him till the 2021 offseason. Whereas sources have indicated to ESPN that the Vikings hope to retain Ngakoue past this season, both with a second franchise tag or by means of a multiyear contract, he stated his focus stays on preparing for the season, which is 9 days away.
“I have not actually thought of a long-term deal or something like that,” Ngakoue stated. “The one factor that is been on my thoughts is getting acclimated and adjusted to the brand new playbook. It is a totally different scheme from what I’ve ran in Jacksonville. Simply getting all these issues locked in my thoughts so I could be prepared for Week 1 and assist this workforce as a lot as I can.”
Getting out of Jacksonville was definitely worth the practically $6 million pay reduce that Yannick Ngakoue took, the brand new Vikings defensive finish advised reporters. David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire
Ngakoue’s departure from the Jaguars is the newest in a collection of strikes that shine a troubling gentle on the franchise. Final October, star cornerback Jalen Ramsey pressured his approach out of Jacksonville by way of a commerce to the Los Angeles Rams. The Jaguars additionally parted methods this offseason with veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive finish Calais Campbell, buying and selling them for draft picks.
“After not retaining a long-term cope with Jacksonville, I sort of felt a bit disheartened about it,” Ngakoue stated of his want to depart the Jaguars. “However on the finish of the day, it is enterprise. I am nonetheless grateful and appreciative they gave me a possibility to have my dream for 4 years. It is at all times going to be love for Jacksonville, however I felt like, and my household as effectively, we felt prefer it was greatest for me to have the ability to transfer ahead to a brand new place, new group and simply get a recent begin.”
His first observe of 2020 occurred Thursday, two days earlier than the Vikings wrapped the preseason. Regardless of lacking coaching camp, Ngakoue stated he impressed himself with how prepared he feels for Week 1 — although he plans to maintain placing within the work with Andre Patterson, the co-defensive coordinator and defensive position coach.
“I am truly shocked how effectively I have been,” Ngakoue stated. “Such as you stated, I have not practiced all of 2020. That was my first observe, and for it to be full pads, for me to nonetheless really feel like I am nonetheless in form, simply knocking a bit little bit of the rust off, I really feel like that is a blessing. So eight, 9 days from now, being with Coach Patterson, I do know he’ll get me groomed up sufficient to the purpose the place I ought to have the ability to hopefully make some performs for these guys.”
“I simply wanted a recent begin, and Minnesota was [the team] that gave me the chance to proceed to dwell out my dream.”
Yannick Ngakoue, on becoming a member of the Vikings
Taking part in alongside fellow Professional Bowl defensive finish Danielle Hunter was additionally a driving pressure behind Ngakoue’s resolution.
“I do know that he is a man that is put up double-digit sacks [the past] two years,” Ngakoue stated. “You may positively be taught from a man like that. I did it one season, and I need to proceed that pattern of with the ability to get again to that elite standing. Simply having him push me and I push him, and we are able to educate one another various things. I really feel like we’ll complement one another actually good and effectively.
“We need to grow to be one of the best of one of the best. We need to be elite. After they speak about edge rushers, we wish them to speak about Danielle and Yannick. I am simply glad, like I stated, that we’re on the identical workforce and may push one another each day. I am fairly certain our friendship will construct as time goes on.”
Ngakoue has 37.5 profession sacks and 14 pressured fumbles since he was drafted as a third-round decide in 2016 out of Maryland. Since sacks grew to become an official stat in 1982, Ngakoue is certainly one of seven NFL gamers to provide 8.zero or extra sacks in every of his first 4 seasons, in response to ESPN Stats & Info.
The No. 91 jersey Ngakoue wore for 4 seasons in Jacksonville was just lately occupied by Vikings defensive finish Jalyn Holmes, who tweeted a GIF on Thursday insinuating that Ngakoue provided him a substantial sum for a jersey swap. Ngakoue jokingly stated he couldn’t disclose how a lot he paid the third-year defensive finish however that it wasn’t “an excessive amount of.”
“That is the way you establish me on this league,” Ngakoue stated. “I really feel like there’s just one 91 on this period now that may do what I do. That is why the quantity was so particular to me. Jalyn needed to let individuals understand it was paid for, nevertheless it’s nothing like that. It is about respect. Folks know me on this league as No. 91, and I need to proceed to have that quantity all the best way till I am retired.”
Holmes will now put on No. 90.