Re-signing Yannick Ngakoue already a top priority for Vikings in 2021

(Photo by Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) Yannick Ngakoue
(Photo by Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) Yannick Ngakoue /

The Minnesota Vikings defensive end is excelling with his new team.

Following the addition of Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, most fans of the Minnesota Vikings immediately began to get excited about the team potentially having the best pass-rushing duo in the entire NFL.

Ngakoue and Danielle Hunter are two of the top defensive ends in the league right now and with both of them on the same roster, the Vikings were expected to have a lethal pass rush this season.

Unfortunately, Hunter has yet to play this year due to a neck injury and whether or not he returns at all this season is still unknown. However, Ngakoue has already been proving to be worth the early-round draft pick Minnesota sent away to acquire him.

Minnesota Vikings must make sure Yannick Ngakoue sticks around past 2020

Since Mike Zimmer was hired in 2014, the Vikings have typically had one of the NFL top’s defenses each season. Zimmer’s system relies heavily on his defensive line generating pressure on the opposing quarterback and Minnesota has been lucky enough to have a number of talented pass rushers suit up for them during the last few years.

Hunter and Everson Griffen were the Vikings’ starting defensive ends from 2017 to 2019 and together, they accumulated a total of 62.5 sacks (about 20 per season). Well, Griffen is playing for the Dallas Cowboys this year and obviously, Hunter hasn’t taken the field for Minnesota yet this season.

So Zimmer and the Vikings have been relying on Ngakoue and a handful of other young defensive ends to generate a pass rush this year.

Through four games, Ngakoue is doing exactly what he was brought to Minnesota to do. So far this year, the Vikings’ newest defensive end has nine tackles (three for a loss), seven pressures, five quarterback hits, four sacks, and two forced fumbles. The rest of Minnesota’s roster has a combined three sacks this season.

Ngakoue will be a free agent in 2021 and it was already assumed by most that the Vikings are going to make sure he returns for at least one more year after the current season. If they can’t get him to agree to a multi-year deal, Minnesota can always use the franchise tag on him to keep him under contract until 2022.

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Vikings fans might not get to see the dynamic pass-rushing duo of Ngkaoue and Hunter in action this season. But with the way Ngakoue is playing so far this year, there’s a good chance Minnesota’s top two defensive ends will have the opportunity to take the field together in 2021.