Remi Ayodele heads back to New Orleans

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Because of suspensions related to their role in the bounty program, there’s a good chance the Saints will be without Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith to start the season.

They will have another member of the Super Bowl XLIV defense on the field, though. The Saints announced Monday that they have re-signed defensive tackle Remi Ayodele to a one-year deal. Ayodele started 13 games for the Saints in 2009 and all 16 in 2010 before leaving for the Vikings as a free agent.

Ayodele played all 16 games and didn’t have a good season in Minnesota. He was set to make $2.2 million in each of the next two years and was released by the Vikings on the same day that the league suspended Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Gregg Williams for their involvement in the bounty program.

The fact that Ayodele was on those teams is interesting, although Ayodele’s name has never been in the league’s reports about their investigation. One of his hits did briefly knock Brett Favre from the NFC Championship Game. The play wasn’t penalized, but the NFL later said that it should have been flagged.

Ayodele should step back into his role as a run-stopper on the interior for the Saints, who let both Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers go this offseason.