Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talks with New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton in a preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.

The Saints don't need to cut their roster down to 75 until Aug. 26, but they got a head start Thursday by waiving four players.

New Orleans cut WR Tobais Palmer, RB Timothy Flanders, TE Je'Ron Hamm and OLB Chidera Uzo-Diribe, coach Sean Payton said. The waivers brought the size of the Saints’ roster down to 86.

Hamm, Uzo-Diribe and Flanders were signed as undrafted rookies this offseason. Palmer is not a rookie but was signed after training camp began.

Hamm (Louisiana-Monroe) missed a significant portion of training camp as well as two preseason exhibitions with a stinger. He had returned to practice prior to being let go.

Uzo-Diribe (Colorado) played 25 snaps of defense and registered one quarterback hit. Flanders (Sam Houston State) lined up for 11 snaps of offense and ran four times for 10 yards. Palmer (North Carolina) didn’t play in either preseason game.

Other players still with the Saints but not participating at practice were FB Erik Lorig, WR Andy Tanner, LB Khairi Fortt, CB Rod Sweeting, LB Victor Butler, S Marcus Ball, T Ty Nsekhe and S Ty Zimmerman.

Sweeting and Butler conditioned on the side.

Meanwhile, after missing practices in previous days, LG Ben Grubbs (undisclosed) and WR Brandin Cooks (stomach illness) participated in drills at Thursday's practice, which was closed to the public and saw players wearing helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.

Payton said the Saints would wait to see how Cooks felt before deciding whether he would play in an exhibition at Indianapolis on Saturday.