NFL

Vikings can add to Ngakoue's game, says head coach Mike Zimmer

By Sports Desk September 01, 2020

Mike Zimmer believes the Minnesota Vikings can add to the game of pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue after acquiring him in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Vikings sent a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection that can become a third-rounder for defensive end Ngakoue.

Ngakoue has at least eight sacks in each of his four seasons in the league and his 14 forced fumbles are the fourth-most in the NFL since he was drafted in 2016.

In Minnesota he will pair up with another dynamic pass rusher in Danielle Hunter, who is coming off successive seasons with 14.5 sacks.

Asked about the acquisition of Ngakoue in a media conference, Zimmer said: "He's a guy who's had a lot of statistics as far as forced fumbles, sacks.

"Another pass rusher to add to our group. We're excited to have him.

"He's got some really good pass rush moves. We think we can add to his game a little bit with some of the other ones with [defensive line coach] Andre [Patterson], so hopefully that can help."

The Vikings' 2019 season was ended in the Divisional Round of the playoffs with defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked six times in the 27-10 loss as the Vikings proved unable to handle a San Francisco defensive line led by edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford.

With Hunter and Ngakoue, the Vikings have a dynamic young duo of their own and Zimmer knows their partnership can be a significant advantage for a defense that is inexperienced in the secondary.

"A lot of times if you've got one guy there, they chip him, use a tight end to block, use a [running] back to block. If you've got two [pass rushers] it keeps a little bit more in protection," he explained.

"If they end up singling guys you get some more favourable matchups."

Zimmer has yet to decide whether Ngakoue will be deployed in a single position or moved around the defensive front.

Responding to a question on that topic, Zimmer said: "Is it ok if I just see him in practice one day?"

Zimmer expects Ngakoue to practice on Thursday as the Vikings prepare for their season opener with the Green Bay Packers on September 13.

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