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Dolphins’ Xavien Howard doubtful Sunday vs. Vikings

Xavien Howard

The Miami Dolphins are looking to keep their playoff hopes alive this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, but they may have to do it without cornerback Xavien Howard.

Howard is listed as doubtful for the Dolphins’ game on Sunday due to a knee injury, with head coach Adam Gase saying it will depend on how Howard feels on Saturday, according to Dolphins beat writer Hal Habib.

Howard missed last week’s thrilling win over the New England Patriots, in which Miami kept its playoff dreams going courtesy of a 70-yard lateral play that resulted in a game-winning touchdown.

The 25-year-old is currently leading the NFL with seven interceptions and has added 35 tackles, a fumble recovery and 12 passes defended on top of that.

Howard, who played his collegiate football at Baylor University, was originally selected by the Dolphins in the second round (38th pick overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Houston native saw his rookie campaign cut in half due to knee surgery, but in the seven games in which he did play, he looked solid, totaling 40 stops, six passes defended and a fumble recovery.

Last year, Howard started all 16 contests for Miami, registering 48 tackles, four picks, a sack, 13 passes defended and a defensive touchdown.

It has been an odd, injury-riddled year for the Dolphins. After getting off to an impressive 3-0 start, Miami proceeded to lose four of its next five games to fall to 4-4. Since then, the ‘Phins have been scratching and clawing, particularly the last two weeks when they earned victories over the Buffalo Bills and the AFC East-leading Patriots.