Jonathan Vilma can return to practice next week

AP

A Saints defense that has exceeded every expectation this year could be getting a key part back soon.

Inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma tweeted out word yesterday that he’d be allowed to practice when the Saints come back from their bye week, according to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Vilma had knee surgery during training camp, and was placed on injured reserve/designated for return. That means he can practice for the next two weeks, and then come back for their Week Nine game against the Jets.

If he’s well, he could help solidify the interior of a defense that has improved this year, although after setting a league record for yards allowed last season, the only direction to go was up.