While one impact player is being activated and will be starting for the New Orleans Saints, another didn't even board the team flight. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma expects to return to the lineup for the Saints on Sunday, but tight end Jimmy Graham won't be in action.
NFL Network's Albert Breer has the inside scoop on his Twitter account:
Colleague @alex_flanagan reports Jonathan Vilma will be activated and play, while Jimmy Graham didn't even make the trip for Saints.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 20, 2012
While the loss of Graham is big for the New Orleans offense, the return of Vilma seemingly has greater impact for the team's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A day after Vilma and the rest of the suspended NFL players accused in the "Bountygate" scandal got the news that former commissioner Paul Tagliabue will be handling their appeal process, the Saints get some more good news in regard to their star linebacker.
At 1-4, the Saints are in win-now mode as they try and claw their way back up the NFC South rankings. A comeback win against the San Diego Chargers was a step in the right direction, but the Saints need consistent play on defense to start building on that win.
Vilma helps them do that. Allowing an abysmal 456 yards per game, the Saints need a spark on defense to help combat some of the assignment issues they've had over the first five weeks of their season.
It's been a rough six months for the Saints, but getting back their defensive captain is a great step toward turning things around.