Yannick Ngakoue trade raises more questions about Danielle Hunter

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Some have wondered aloud whether Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter‘s extended absence from practice represents, at its core, an effort by Hunter to get more money from the team. If there’s anything to it, the team’s stunning decision to trade for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue definitely won’t resolve those concerns.

Ngakoue will make $17.88 million this year, if he signs his franchise tender and the trade that will send him to Minnesota goes through. Hunter, who had $8 million in salary converted to a restructuring bonus earlier this year, will make another $3.4 million in salary. That’s a total 2020 payout to $11.4 million; more than $6 million less than Ngakoue and nearly $16 million less than the new-money average paid out by the Chargers to defensive end Joey Bosa.

In all, Hunter’s deal averages $14.4 million per year. He’s signed through 2024.

The other possibility is that the “tweak” (as described by Vikings coach Mike Zimmer) is actually something more than that, and that Ngakoue could become not a complement but a replacement for Hunter this season. However, Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com reports that Hunter will be back on the field “soon.”

There’s also, in theory, a chance that the Vikings have acquired Ngakoue as a precursor to trading Hunter. That would trigger a cap charge of $5 million in 2020, with another $12 million in 2021. Given that the cap is expected to drop next year, that’s a significant chunk of dead money to absorb at a time when the cost of making Ngakoue anything other than a one-year rental would jump to $21.34 million.

However it plays out, the arrival of Ngakoue creates real questions about the short- and long-term future of the Vikings’ pass rush. It could be very difficult for the Vikings to keep Ngakoue beyond 2020, and it could be even more difficult to make Hunter happy.

UPDATE 9:15 a.m. ET: Given the surprising news that Ngakoue actually has taken a pay cut to get out of Jacksonville, the Vikings may be able to navigate Hunter’s situation a little better — at least for now. If Ngakoue will be receiving $13.5 million, that’s nearly a million less than Hunter’s annual average of $14.4 million.

20 responses to “Yannick Ngakoue trade raises more questions about Danielle Hunter

  1. This is the third year of Kirk Cousins. He’s gotten his wish of playing without fans. This move is just a tweak, like Hunters’ injury. Sure. It’s now or never for this latest, untested (some say “vaunted”) mix of fifteen draft picks that can’t get the repetitions they require, combined with the scratch-your-head choices for replacing seven missing starters from last year. One common-thread among all NFCN teams remains a constant: The biggest difference among all NFCN teams and their expectations for success is still Aaron Rodgers. Nothing has changed.

  2. Worried about Danielle’s status was my first thought as well. If, as reported by Courtney Cronin, Hunters injury is just a tweak and he will be back soon The Vikings D-Line just got nasty. The young CB’s just got a whole lot better!

  3. The Vikings try so hard to get good enough to win the NFL North and get to the playoffs in 2020 yet will come up short of their goal.when they look back they will come to realize they should have resigned some of those they let get away.they are merely the third best team in the NFC north.

  4. No, that wasn’t an earthquake in Green Bay, that is Aaron Rodgers quivering in his shoes!

  5. Why would it affect Hunter? You need at least 4 above average pash rushers on your team? This might be a 2 year deal at most

  6. I’d still prefer both Smiths, Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark rushing the passer. That’s an easy call.

  7. I had the exact same question but 3 separate insiders have said Hunter’s injury isn’t serious, so who knows? Those that say this is a win now move need to look at this more closely – the guy is 25 and will now have the chance to grow with a young defensive core on all levels, he agreed to play for 13.5M this year so Hunter won’t be ticked, he’ll have the best D line coach in the league, and if he does leave the Vikes get a 3rd round comp pick to minimize loss of draft capital. And yes, the Pack still has Rodgers; however, it’s the D that will likely carry that team in 2020.

  8. If you can play like Joey Bosa, you’ll get paid like Joey Bosa. Everyone wanted Michael Jordan money too. The owners would have happily paid it if they got that kind of performance. Just because you play the same position, doesn’t mean you impact the game the same way.

  9. As a Vikings fan I don’t care who’s wearing purple next year, all I know is where going to get Danielle Hunter AND Yannick Ngakoue on the field at the same time in 2020!

  10. To get the most out of Ngakoue, you NEED another good to great pass rusher with him. His best performances were when he was teamed with Calais Campbell. When he wasn’t, not so much.

  11. soisaystotheguyi says:
    August 30, 2020 at 11:16 am
    I’d still prefer both Smiths, Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark rushing the passer. That’s an easy call.

    @@@@@@@222

    We are so happy for you, and so are the 49ers RBs

  12. jimmypx says:
    August 30, 2020 at 7:53 pm
    To get the most out of Ngakoue, you NEED another good to great pass rusher with him. His best performances were when he was teamed with Calais Campbell. When he wasn’t, not so much

    @@@@@@@@222

    Ummmmmm, he will be teamed with the youngest to ever record 50 sacks Danielle Hunter. Don’t get out much do you.

  13. stellarperformance says:
    August 30, 2020 at 8:55 am
    This is the third year of Kirk Cousins. He’s gotten his wish of playing without fans. This move is just a tweak, like Hunters’ injury. Sure. It’s now or never for this latest, untested (some say “vaunted”) mix of fifteen draft picks that can’t get the repetitions they require, combined with the scratch-your-head choices for replacing seven missing starters from last year. One common-thread among all NFCN teams remains a constant: The biggest difference among all NFCN teams and their expectations for success is still Aaron Rodgers. Nothing has changed.

    ————

    Cousin’s played better than Rodgers last year. looks up the stats. He was a higher rated passer. Hell, even Ryan Tanehill had a higher passer rating. The Packers only won the division because of an outstanding year by Aaron Jones, a slightly improved defense, and a lot of help from the officials. There are 3-4 games with questionable calls that helped them win. They were the most overrated team in the playoffs last year. The Packers are not that good. I think if anything the Vikings and Packers might be even team wise this year.

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