The Baltimore Ravens sent a clear message to the rest of the NFL on Wednesday that they want to win now. They acquired Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick.
The Ravens' defense ranks second in the NFL in total points allowed and total sacks. They did not need Ngakoue services to round out their already menacing front seven, but his presence can allow Baltimore to reach historic levels of production. Ngakoue had 5.0 sacks for Minnesota through six games so far this season.
Ngakoue is in his fifth NFL season after spending his first four with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the first part of this season in Minnesota. The Maryland product will be reunited with former Jaguars teammate Calais Campbell in Baltimore. Another Pro Bowl defensive end, Campbell currently leads the Ravens with 4.0 sacks.
Ngakoue and Campbell each made the Pro Bowl as teammates in 2017, when Ngakoue recorded 12.0 sacks and six forced fumbles, while Campbell notched 14.5 sacks with three forced fumbles. They helped the Jaguars advance to the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the New England Patriots.
Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale will have a plethora of options at his disposal, and may deploy his secondary less in blitzes now that Yannick Ngakoue is on the roster. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety DeShon Elliott have a combined 4.5 sacks so far this season, but may be used more as traditional cover defensive backs moving forward.
The Vikings had just traded for Yannick Ngakoue on Aug. 31, after he very publicly forced his way out of a losing situation in Jacksonville, where he was not happy with his contract.
The hope was that Yannick Ngakoue could help get Minnesota over the hump as a serious contender after they made it to the NFC divisional round of the playoffs last season. But the Vikings flopped and started this season 1-5. Contending seems out of the question, so the team flipped Ngakoue to another contender for some more draft capital.
The Vikings might have forked over a large payday for Yannick Ngakoue had they gotten off to a better start, and it will be interesting to see whether the win-now Ravens look to lock him in at a price point he is comfortable with.Published 25 Oct 2020, 00:03 IST