Jonathan Vilma expected back this week

METAIRIE, LA. – The Saints will likely get middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma back this week after he missed the last three games following clean-up surgery to repair a lingering knee injury. The Saints actually fared very well in his absence, winning all three games, with Jo-Lonn Dunbar stepping up as a reliable replacement.

But if Vilma can finally get back to 100 percent because of the surgery, he could give the Saints a huge boost down the stretch. Vilma was originally injured in Week 2, then tried to play through the pain for more than a month. But it was clear that he wasn’t playing up to his full potential, with the knee slowing him down a bit.

When healthy, Vilma is a huge asset for the Saints because of his ability to cover a lot of ground in open space and his playmaking instincts. The Saints count on Vilma to cover a lot of ground when they blitz safety Roman Harper and their outside linebackers often. Vilma could also help with their meager turnover rate. Plus, Dunbar can slide back to the strong linebacker spot and improve the depth at the position overall.

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