Former Viking Breaks Ankle, Out for Season

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports.

For a few weeks in 2020, outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue was a formidable solution for the Minnesota Vikings after Danielle Hunter was lost for the season.

The experiment didn’t last long, and Ngakoue has bounced around the NFL since.

Former Viking Breaks Ankle, Out for Season

Now this week, Ngakoue, a member of the Chicago Bears, was beset by awful news. He’ll miss the season’s remainder, as NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted Wednesday morning, “Bears coach Matt Eberflus told reporters that DE Yannick Ngakoue has a broken ankle and is done for the season.”

Breaks Ankle
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

Per ESPN, Chicago has a 3.6% probability of reaching the postseason, mainly because of wins over the Vikings in Week 12 and Detroit Lions in Week 14, and will hope to beat the odds sans Ngakoue.

On August 30th, 2020, Yannick Ngakoue was dealt to the Minnesota Vikings early on a Sunday morning for a 2nd-Round pick in 2021 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2022. Ngakoue was at a contractual impasse with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team in full sell-off mode after reaching the AFC Championship in 2017. The Vikings seized the bait and sought to employ a duo of EDGE rushers that would inspire nightmares. The combo turned out to be Ngakoue and Ifeadi Odenigbo, not Ngakoue and Hunter. And no nightmares.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings’ 2020 pass rush was miserable — the worst in the NFL, in fact. The pass rusher was then traded to the Baltimore Ravens in what felt like the beginning of a fire sale as the Vikings stood at 1-5 entering the 2020 bye week. The fire sale never extended beyond Ngakoue, but Minnesota emphatically threw in the towel on the high hopes for its 2020 pass rush. Instead, Odenigbo received more playing time, providing the coaching staff with intel that he was not a long-term starting asset on the defensive line. He was released in 2021.

Ngakoue has moseyed around the NFL since, with this career resume to date:

  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2016–2019)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2020)
  • Baltimore Ravens (2020)
  • Las Vegas Raiders (2021)
  • Indianapolis Colts (2022)
  • Chicago Bears (2023–present)
NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

In 13 games this season, Ngakoue logged 22 total tackles, 7 QB hits, 6 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. Pro Football Focus classifies him as the league’s second-worst EDGE defender, ranking 108th of 109 qualifying pass rushers.

These are the Bears’ EDGE defenders with Ngakoue on the shelf the rest of the way:

  • Montez Sweat
  • DeMarcus Walker
  • Rasheem Green
  • Dominique Robinson
  • Khalid Kareem (PS)
  • Daniel Hardy (PS)
Bears Choose Starting QB vs. Vikings
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

Ngakoue reached a Pro Bowl in 2017.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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