Bears Boost Pass Rush, Sign Former Vikings Edge Rusher

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
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For a little while, there was some online chatter about the Vikings re-uniting with Yannick Ngakoue. The recent news will firmly end any speculation about that possibility.

Per Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, Ngakoue will be joining the Chicago Bears: “The #Bears are signing former #Colts star pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to a 1-year, $10.5M deal, sources say, giving them a weapon off the edge they’ve been seeking. Ngakoue has never played for Matt Eberflus, but he’s played in his system before. It should be seamless.”

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Before the deal took place, the Bears were leading the NFL in cap space with a hefty $28.3 million in available funds. Bringing the talented pass rusher to town will deplete the finances by a fair bit, though some of the contract details still need to arrive. Safe to say Chicago isn’t hurting for money.

Bears Sign Ngakoue, the Former Vikings Edge Rusher

Ngakoue arrived in Minnesota in 2020. If memory serves, there was even some initial optimism that Ngakoue could partner with Danielle Hunter, giving the Vikings a fearsome pair coming off the edge. That dream was undone by the severity of Hunter’s injury and the departure of Ngakoue.

Indeed, the former Jaguar was the EDGE1 for the initial third of the season. After just 6 games in Minnesota, Ngakoue got shipped over to Baltimore in an effort to recoup some draft capital.

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Ngakoue’s career has been a wild one. Initially, he played for Jacksonville after being drafted 69th overall. He then went to Minnesota before getting sent to Baltimore. After playing for the Ravens, the pass rusher took his talents to Las Vegas but that only lasted for a single season. He then joined the Colts but that, too, only lasted for a single season.

He is once again playing on a 1-year deal. Chicago will be his sixth team in what will be his eighth year in the NFL.

Viking Joins Bill
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Last season, the Chicago Bears finished with the league’s worst record, falling to a horrendous 3-14. Rather than make the 1st pick, Bears GM Ryan Poles opted to pull off a deal with the Carolina Panthers. The trade involved gaining substantial draft capital as well as a new WR1: D.J. Moore, who is one of the NFL’s most underrated players.

The hope in Chicago is that Justin Fields — an incredibly gifted runner — can show progress as a passer. Moore’s addition is meant to help Field take steps toward becoming Chicago’s franchise QB.

Meanwhile, the Chicago defense is looking to make its own improvements. Allowing 27.2 points per game last year was even worse than the Vikings. In fact, Chicago finished in last place defensively, a reality that makes the Yannick Ngakoue addition pretty reasonable.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
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True, Ngakoue likely isn’t going to be around for the full rebuild in Chicago, but he’s only 28. The possibility is there for an ongoing partnership for the next few years as he helps to lift Chicago’s defense out of the NFL’s basement.

In his career, Ngakoue has 65 sacks. He had 9.5 last season and 10 the year prior. Throughout his career, he has never dipped below 8 sacks in a single season.

The Vikings are similarly looking to make defensive improvements. Danielle Hunter is back working with the team after agreeing to a new deal. Brian Flores will be leaning on his star pass rusher to help Minnesota improve from their disastrous defense in 2022.

The Vikings and Bears play in Week 6 and Week 12.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.

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