The Minnesota Vikings made a statement trading for Yannick Ngakoue. They indicated that their goal this year was to finally win it all. You don’t make this kind of move unless you think it can win you a championship. Anything less than a championship sets the team back, as they never should have given up assets to acquire what could be a one year rental.
Minnesota is $18 million in the hole after the trade, according to Over the Cap. The Vikings are all in and then some for the 2020 season. They must think this move makes them a Super Bowl favorite; if not, the trade for Ngakoue makes no sense. If they don’t win it all this year, major changes could be coming to the Vikings organization.
The Vikings have talent no doubt, but they are not the most talented team in the league. NFL.com has them ranked 11th in its power ranking and ESPN has them ranked 10th. Does adding Ngakoue put them ahead of everyone else? Not even close, this team is built for a playoff appearance not a Super Bowl run.
The Ngakoue trade is interesting as the Vikings could potentially lose him in the offseason. Last year, the defense ranked only 14th and lost a key piece in Everson Griffen this offseason. They signed defensive tackle Michael Pierce but he opted out of the season. So they had a need, but this move doesn’t make them a top-10 defense.
Ngakoue will come in and replace Griffen’s vacated position. He’s younger and a slightly better player than Griffen, posting more solo tackles and 4 more forced fumbles. Those 4 forced fumbles adds to a team who already ranked 5th in that category last year. Ngakoue did have 1 less sack than Griffen. But since being drafted in 2016, Ngakoue has had 3 more sacks than Griffin in the same time period. The slight uptick in production from Ngakoue will not turn this defense around.
The front office drafted Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler after losing both Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes to other teams. It’s understandable why the team cut ties with its starting corner. They were not good in 2019. They both gave up a combined 9 touchdowns, 77.8 completion percentage and 1,510 yards. That is a horrible stat line for your starting CBs. They gave up all that yardage and combined for 1 interception. Yikes. Now the front office is expecting rookies to come in and perform better, while not having a true offseason to learn and grow.
The 16th ranked offense took a hit when the team traded Stefon Diggs to the Bills. They used the 1st round pick from the Bills to replace Diggs with Justin Jefferson, who should slide into the second wide receiver role. The 16th ranked offense is not getting better with this move. To make this move makes sense, the offense must improve drastically in 2020. Asking a rookie to be better than Stefon Diggs is not going to happen.
Dalvin Cook is still the starter and he’s hungry. Earlier in the offseason, it seemed like Cook was looking to hold out for a new contract. He will be determined to show the Vikings that they want to make an investment in his future.
The fourth-year back is looking to have 2,000 all purpose yards. In order to do this he would need 350 more yards than he had last year. Getting 2,000 all purpose yards is hard, usually 1-2 players do it each year. I can’t see that happening with Cook, especially with only having the 23rd ranked line heading into 2020 according to PFF. He might catch more balls out of the back field, but I can’t see him adding 150-250 more receiving yards.
In order for this team to be a Super Bowl contender, it needs to have either a top-10 offense or a top-10 defense. If not, the Vikings will not be able to compete with good teams in the playoffs. The moves in the offseason don’t show that they can improve drastically on those numbers. They might have improved slightly in some areas, but not enough to warrant the thought of a Super Bowl run.
Kirk Cousins would need to turn into Pat Mahomes if they wanted a chance. But that’s not happening. Selling the farm to focus on the present only hurts you in the long run, especially when you’re not ready to compete at a Super Bowl level. If the season goes bad, whoever’s idea it was to trade for Ngakoue has to go.