Vikings Draft Profile: Another Cincinnati Bearcat Should Be on Minnesota’s Board

The Minnesota Vikings should already have their eyes set on one Cincinnati Bearcat in this upcoming NFL Draft. That player is of course cornerback Ahmad Gardner. The star corner isn’t the only player to keep an eye on as April approaches, though. Similar to the cornerback position, the Vikings draft should have a focus on upgrading the EDGE position. If Minnesota opts for Gardner in the first round, they could have another Bearcat in mind for the second round. He is EDGE Myjai Sanders.

Amidst the top-tier pass rushers in this draft class, Sanders has gone a bit under-the-radar. Part of this may be due to a lack of a Power Five status. His breakout in the 2020 season is what put him on the map, but a bit of a step back in terms of actual numbers has caused him to slip back down into anonymity. There is no doubt that he is a talented player though, and here is what he can bring to the table for an NFL team.


  • 2018 (4 Games): 7 tackles
  • 2019 (14 Games): 40 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 4 sacks, 2 PDs, 1 FF
  • 2020 (10 Games): 31 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 5 PDs
  • 2021 (14 Games): 41 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 5 PDs, 1 FR


One of the most fascinating components of Ahmad Gardner’s game that likely has him high on the Vikings draft board is his versatility. With question marks surrounding many Vikings players regarding their future with the franchise, finding defenders that can excel at multiple things will be huge for Minnesota. Myjai Sanders is another player that can do just that.

As an EDGE, Sanders will be known most for his ability to rush the passer. He does that very well, but it is far from the only thing he can do to create an impact on the defensive side of the ball. He can play from either a two-point or a three-point stance, and this allows him to play either DE or at the OLB position. Cincinnati moved him all over the field because of this comfortability.

Like so many other pass rushers in this NFL draft class, Sanders is a freak athlete as well. He has an incredible first step and quick feet that move well in all directions. This allows him to occasionally drop back into pass coverage as well and his instincts against the pass have led to some impressive plays.


Above all else, what stands out to me in Sanders is his eagerness on each and every play. He is an Energizer bunny that just keeps on going. However, this can sometimes get him in trouble. More than once, there have been instances where he jumps the snap a bit too early. In the NFL, veteran QBs are sharks that can smell blood in the water. They prey upon young pass rushers that get a little too jumpy pre-snap. The Vikings have a bad history over the past couple years with penalties, and this could be a drawback that has Minnesota reconsidering if they want to bring him in.

Additionally, the undisciplined nature of Sanders causes some issues while defending the run. He isn’t very patient and is quick to overcommit to an angle. This oftentimes takes him out of a play before it has even fully developed. The bad angles become especially problematic because of his smaller frame. When playing into what opposing tackles want him to do, he becomes maneuverable and almost exclusively loses these snaps. Before anything else, Sanders needs to work on consistent patience ahead of this NFL season.

Myjai Sanders Fit on the 2022 Vikings

The Vikings obviously need some help at both OLB and DE ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. If they do in fact go with Ahmad Gardner or another DB in the first round, this creates a dire need to address EDGE in either the second or third round. Depending on how the NFL combine and draft interviews go this spring, Sanders will almost certainly be available to the Vikings in the second round and could even be available in the third round. If the Vikings can get him with a Day Two pick, they should jump at the chance to develop the talented EDGE.