EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings further enhanced their defensive line through the acquisition of Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue via trade, the team announced Monday.
Originally a third-round draft pick in 2016, Ngakoue spent the first four seasons of his NFL in Jacksonville. Over 63 games (62 starts), he has totaled an impressive 37.5 sacks and racked up 14 forced fumbles. Ngakoue also has 122 career tackles (league stats), two interceptions, 42 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries and nine passes defensed.
Ngakoue joins a Minnesota defensive line that experience the departures of defensive ends Everson Griffen (Cowboys) and Stephen Weatherly (Panthers), as well as defensive tackle Linval Joseph (Chargers) in free agency.
Here are five things to know about Ngakoue.
View photos of new Vikings DE Yannick Ngakoue who was recently traded to the team.
For starters, his name is pronounced yah-NEEK in-GAH-kway.
1. Stacking stats
In each of his four seasons with the Jaguars, Ngakoue has recorded at least 8.0 sacks.
His 14 forced fumbles are the fourth-most in the NFL since 2016, trailing only Chandler Jones (17), Khalil Mack (17) and T.J. Watt (15). One of the 14 occurred against the Vikings in 2016, when he forced a fumble by Sam Bradford, who recovered the ball.
Ngakoue's 37.5 sacks – 12 of which have been strip sacks – are the most by a Jaguar through 63 games with the team; they rank second in franchise history behind Tony Brackens, who piled up 55 sacks from 1996-2003.
2. Former Terrapin
Ngakoue played for the University of Maryland, where as a junior he set the Terrapins single-season sacks record (13.5), breaking the previous record set by Mark Duda (1982) and Bruce Palmer (1978).
His 176 tackles-for-loss yards rank sixth in program history, and his 33 tackles for loss rank eighth.
Following his 2015 campaign, Ngakoue earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors.
He overlapped at Maryland with former Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs.
3. Making a difference
Like numerous NFL players around the country, Ngakoue has navigated an unprecedented offseason drastically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He's also worked to make a difference for families impacted by the pandemic's effects. In July, Ngakoue donated Chromebooks to the Prince George County community in Maryland to support students in remote learning.
"What gave me the urge to give back … was one simple thing – coming from the same place these kids came from," Ngakoue told Inside Maryland Sports. "I know the struggles of not having school supplies the first day of school and having to rotate through two or three uniforms, so it was really special. I could just tell from their faces how much it meant to them. It was great."
Ngakoue also partnered in April with No Kid Hungry to help combat youth food insecurity.
4. East Coast kid
Ngakoue grew up in Bowie, Maryland, and attended Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, D.C. There he helped lead the school to the DCSAA title as a senior and was named the 2012 D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year after recording 17 sacks.
He is the only Maryland native currently on Minnesota's roster.
5. Reunited with Rashod
Ngakoue started his NFL career as teammates with tackle Rashod Hill, who spent parts of the 2016 season on the Jaguars practice squad and active roster.
The Vikings signed Hill off Jacksonville's practice squad on Nov. 15, 2016.