Saints facing some issues at linebacker

The New Orleans Saints are in a bit of a scramble at linebacker with their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings only four days away.

The Saints surprised onlookers Saturday when they placed Jonathan Casillas on season-ending injured reserve with a foot injury suffered in the preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans. Casillas was projected to be the starting weak-side linebacker.

Add to that the fact that middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma is battling a groin injury, and the Saints could be short when the Minnesota Vikings come calling for a rematch of the NFC Championship Game. Vilma’s status for the game is not yet known.

Casillas performed so well early in training camp that he was elevated to run with the starters, allowing the team to move Scott Shanle from the weak to strong side. Casillas had been one of the stars of training camp, a fast riser who stuck last year as an undrafted free agent.

Now, the team will have to consider some options. One might be moving Shanle back to weak side. New Orleans could also plug in Jo-Lunn Dunbar or Stanley Arnoux, a promising rookie last season who spent the year on injured reserve. Arnoux has been slowed some by an ankle injury, but should be in good shape soon. A fourth-round draft pick from Wake Forest, he’d be an ideal fit at weak side. Stay tuned.

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