The Dolphins saw a number of key players go down with injuries during today’s loss to the Vikings. Among them was cornerback Nik Needham, who suffered a torn Achilles (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). His season is over as a result.
The news marks a significant blow on a number of fronts. The 25-year-old had been operating as a full-time starter on the perimeter this season, which represented an uptick in playing time compared to the past two seasons. He failed to register an interception in 2022, and totaled just a pair of pass deflections. He did, however, post a mark of 47% completion percentage allowed, a career-best figure in that regard.
Needham was given a second-round RFA tender this offseason; he and the Dolphins did not agree on a long-term deal afterwards. As a result, the former UDFA was on the books for $3.9MM on the one-year pact. This injury will certainly affect his free agent stock heading into the spring, but also the Dolphins’ secondary in the immediate future.
Part of the cause for Needham’s heavy workload was the ongoing absence of fellow corner Byron Jones. The veteran has been recovering from an Achilles tear of his own, but that process has not gone according to plan. With Jones still not having been designated to return from IR, the loss of Needham will be felt significantly for the Dolphins. Compounding the situation even further, Keion Crossen was ruled out midway through today’s game as well, leaving the team Dolphins notably thin at the position opposite Xavien Howard.
In other injury news from Sunday, third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson exited the game with a thumb injury. That required backup Teddy Bridgewater to enter the contest, after he cleared concussion protocol. The same is true of starter Tua Tagovailoa, who is expected to return to action next week.