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Report: Vikings agree to deal to acquire Yannick Ngakoue from Jacksonville

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Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Vikings made a major move to improve their pass rush on Sunday morning, two weeks before they open the season against Green Bay. The team agreed to a deal with Jacksonville that will bring defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota for a 2021 second- and a conditional 2022 fifth-round pick that could go as high as a third-round selection, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer told the media on Sunday morning that he’s “not allowed to comment on it until the trade’s official,” adding that general manager Rick Spielman and Rob Brzezinski, the Vikings’ executive vice president of football operations, “are trying to finalize the business side of things.”

Ngakoue, who had eight sacks in 15 games last season, had been given the franchise tender by the Jaguars. That would have paid him $17.8 million for this season but he had no interest in continuing to play for the Jaguars. How bad did Ngakoue want out? He agreed to a revised one-year, $12 million contract with the Vikings, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. He could not sign a multi-year agreement with Minnesota because the deadline for players given the franchise tag to sign for more than one season passed on July 15.

The Vikings entered Sunday with $12.5 million in cap space, according to the Over The Cap website, so Ngakoue’s new contract keeps them just below the cap.

The fifth-round pick that will go to Jacksonville reportedly will become a fourth-round selection if the 25-year-old Ngakoue goes to the Pro Bowl in 2020 and it will go as high as a third-round pick, if Ngakoue is voted to the Pro Bowl and the Vikings win the Super Bowl.

“We’ve been looking for another pass rusher for quite a while,” Zimmer said when asked about the prospect of having two elite pass rushers. “I think that’s important when you have a young secondary, as well. If it goes through then I think that adds to what we could do.”

According to ESPN, Ngakoue’s 14 forced fumbles are more than all but three players from 2016 to 2019: Chandler Jones (17), Khalil Mack (17) and T.J. Watt (15).