Minnesota Vikings defensive end Yannick Ngakoue claims money was never his drive coming into the NFL as he prioritizes some other things over money. After months of trying to force his way out of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ngakoue finally got his wish fulfilled when the Jaguars and Vikings agreed on a trade.
The Jaguars placed the franchise tag, worth $17.778 millio, on Ngakoue, but the defensive end rejected to sign it as he was keen on forcing his way out of Jacksonville. Ngakoue is set to earn $12 million with the Vikings this season.
"Money was never my drive coming into this business," Ngakoue said, per ESPN. "It has never been my drive. I've always wanted to be a great-caliber guy, great-quality guy, on and off the field. I just needed a fresh start, and Minnesota was [the team] that gave me the opportunity to continue to live out my dream.
I'm appreciative and excited."
Ngakoue was excited when the Vikings showed interest
"The Vikings kind of came out of the blue, and I was excited to know that," Ngakoue said. "There were some teams that had interest, and they shied away due to just difficult situations.
We couldn't get things done, but I just appreciate Minnesota so much for having faith in me and being able to grasp me and get me here." Ngakoue also claims his right now is on winning and he will think about a long-term deal later.
"I haven't really thought about a long-term deal or anything like that," Ngakoue said. "The only thing that's been on my mind is getting acclimated and adjusted to the new playbook. It's a different scheme from what I've ran in Jacksonville.
Just getting all those things locked in my mind so I can be ready for Week 1 and help this team as much as I can." Reflecting on his desire to leave the Jaguars, Ngakoue said: "After not retaining a long-term deal with Jacksonville, I kind of felt a little disheartened about it.
But at the end of the day, it's business. I'm still thankful and appreciative they gave me an opportunity to have my dream for four years. It's always going to be love for Jacksonville, but I felt like, and my family as well, we felt like it was best for me to be able to move forward to a new place, new organization and just get a fresh start."