The NFL's best defense just got better. The Ravens have agreed in principle to a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, pending the passing of a physical, for Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
The Ravens did not disclose the draft picks traded in the exchange. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Ravens gave up a 2021 third-round pick and 2022 conditional fifth-round pick.
Ngakoue, 25, is one of the NFL's premier pass rushers. The 2017 Pro Bowler has 42.5 sacks in 69 career games over the past four-plus seasons.
Ngakoue already had five sacks in six games with the Vikings this season after being traded to Minnesota shortly before the start of the regular season.
"We are excited to add Yannick Ngakoue to our football team," General Manager Eric DeCosta stated. "Yannick is someone who we are very familiar with going back to the draft process years ago. He is an exciting player and a dangerous pass rusher who makes us better. Yannick grew up here. He's the type of person we welcome in our building. Finally, we are not finished building this team, as we continue to chase our ultimate goals."
The 6-foot-2, 246-pound Ngakoue, who has been seeking a long-term deal, was traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Vikings in late August and reportedly took a pay cut, agreeing to a one-year, $12 million deal.
He was a dominant pass rusher at the University of Maryland, where he set the school record for sacks in a single season (13.5) during his junior campaign in 2015, and is a native of Bowie, Md.
Ngakoue was a third-round pick of the Jaguars in 2016. He and defensive end Calais Campbell, who the Ravens traded for this offseason, formed a dominant duo for the Jags defense in 2017. Campbell had a team-high 14.5 sacks and Ngakoue had a career-high 12 sacks and six forced fumbles.
"I can't wait to get him in here and hopefully we can go out there and do it like we used to sacking quarterbacks. Meet at the quarterback!" Campbell said after hearing the news.
"I know he wants to win. He loves the game of football. This is a place where he's going to flourish. This culture is going to bring the best out of him and his game. He's just scratching the surface of how good he can be."
In addition to his sack totals, Ngakoue has recorded 134 total tackles (117 solo), 16 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, nine passes defensed and two interceptions. In addition to his five sacks already this season, he has 10 tackles and two forced fumbles.
The Ravens are already tops in the league in points allowed per game (17.3) and are tied for the second-most sacks (22) and takeaways (11). Now they have even more playmaking potential on a stacked unit.