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Saints designate Wil Lutz to return from IR, other help not too far behind

The Saints are starting to get healthy.

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are finally starting to get healthy.

Kicker Wil Lutz has been designated to return from injured reserve. The Saints have clearly missed their Pro Bowl kicker as the team has made an abysmal 25% of its field goals this season (1 for 4) and missed two extra points.

The Saints signed Brian Johnson off the Chicago Bears practice squad, and are therefore required to keep Johnson on the active roster for three weeks. Lutz could return this week against the Seattle Seahawks, but a return against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home could be more likely to give Lutz enough time to practice with the team and test out his leg. Last week’s bye week counts as one of the three week minimum for Johnson, so it’s possible the Saints could carry two kickers for the Saints-Bucs Halloween game.

On offense, the Saints are expected to be without Michael Thomas for a couple of more weeks, so a return this Sunday against Seattle is likely out of the question. Even once activated, it could take a bit of time for Michael Thomas to get fully up to speed with the Saints offense, and even longer to develop chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston.

Tre’Quan Smith, on the other hand, was able to get in offseason work with Winston to work on their chemistry this offseason. Smith could very well be back this week against Seattle, so the Saints can hope their offensive will be getting back a new (albeit temporary) number one receiver until Thomas returns. The former third round pick would help take the pressure off receivers like Deonte Harris and Marquez Callaway, so it could only serve to help open up the passing game.

Tight End Nick Vannett is another player could be back sooner rather than later, and while he might not help the passing offense directly, his presence as a blocker should help Adam Trautman spend more time running around and less time as an in-line blocker. On the other side of the ball, linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive end Marcus Davenport could be back in the coming weeks, but formal updates have yet to come in.

The Saints are finally getting healthy, and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time with the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers on the horizon.

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