Saints Middle Linebacker Jonathan Vilma (Source:

New Orleans Saints: Jonathan Vilma, Mark Ingram, and the Detroit Lions

While the Detroit Lions are very likely to be without one of their top defensive weapons this Sunday, the Saints may be getting back one of their best in middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

Vilma has missed the Saints last three games while recovering from minor knee surgery stemming from an injury he suffered in week two’s game against the Chicago Bears.

He attempted to play through the first half of the season, but it was obvious the injury was slowing his on field production to the point it could no longer be ignored.

Perhaps Vilma’s greatest attribute his enormous range as he can cover the field from sideline-to-sidline as good or better than any linebacker in the league.

That facet of his game vanished after week 2, and he just wasn’t as effective a tackler.

Vilma has now had a full month to recover if you include the teams bye-week, and his potential re-insertion into the lineup couldn’t come at a better time as the Saints attempt to string together wins and increase their playoff seeding.

His return also has ramifications in the depth department because then Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who filled in admirably, can be moved back to outside linebacker.

New Orleans has a bevy of talent at both outside linebacker positions — strong and weak side — and while Jonathan Casillas continues to emerge, young linebackers Ramon Humber and Will Herring are beginning to stand out.

Humber contributed on special teams and defense during the Saints 49-24 blowout win over the Giants, the same game that Herring snagged an end zone interception of Eli Manning.

Rookie running back Mark Ingram turned in his most complete game of the year against the Giants.

He rushed 13 times for 80 yards and one touchdown, which is the second-highest total of his young career.

Ingram was forced out of action with a bruised heel earlier this season, missing two games, but he’s back, healthy, and appears to be hitting his stride inside the offense.

This Sunday he is facing a favorable match up against the Lions 23rd ranked rush defense, and the fact that Suh will be out only increases the odds that he posts another big game.

So if you have Ingram on your bench in fantasy football now would be a good time to put him in your stariting lineup.

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Tags: Chicago Bears Detriot Lions Drew Brees Jo-Lunn Dunbar Jonathan Vilma Mark Ingram Ndamukong Suh New Orleans Saints NFC South NFL NFL News Pierre Thomas Ramon Humber Sunday Night Football Suspension Will Herring

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