Vilma has missed three games after reportedly having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, but he practiced on a limited basis the past three days and was listed Friday as probable for Sunday’s game.

Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday that Vilma had “turned the corner” earlier this week, an indication that he was close to returning.

Practice report

Vilma was the only player who was limited Friday as the Saints wrapped up their heavy preps for the Lions.

Defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) did not practice and will be sidelined for a third consecutive game.

Cornerback Jabari Greer (knee) and defensive tackle Thom Johnson (elbow) had full participation and are probable.

For the Lions, defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thigh) will not play. Safety Louis Delmas (knee) and cornerback Chris Houston (knee) did not work Friday and are doubtful, while running back Kevin Smith (ankle) and cornerback Brandon McDonald (thigh) are questionable.

Pro Bowl voting

Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Jimmy Graham are among the NFC’s top vote-getters in Pro Bowl online balloting.

Brees is sixth overall 655,655 votes, which puts him second among NFC quarterbacks behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers’ 966,818, according to figures released Thursday. Rodgers leads all vote-getters, with New England’s Tom Brady ranking second (873,424).

Graham leads all NFC tight ends with 434,436 votes.

Louisiana strong

Four players with Louisiana ties figure prominently in the voting.

Chicago’s Matt Forte is second among NFC running backs with 563,441 and ranks 10th overall in the voting. Also, San Diego’s Jacob Hester leads AFC fullbacks (102,563), Baltimore’s Ed Reed is tops among AFC free safeties (126,436) and New York Jets’ Joe McKnight leads AFC kick returners (91,175).

Voting continues through 11 p.m. CST on Dec. 19 at

Brees wins FedEx honor

The league announced Friday that Brees was the winner of the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week award for his efforts in the Saints’ 49-24 blowout of the New York Giants on Monday night.

Brees threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown to capture his first FedEx honor, which is decided by fans in an online vote.

Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells was the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week for Week 12.

Piling up the yards

Brees led the Saints offense to 577 total yards against the Giants, the second-most ever gained by the Saints, trailing the 595 yards they had in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006.

The Saints have 11 500-yard outings in the 91 regular-season games they’ve played under Payton and are 7-4 when reach the 500-yard mark.

Two of their 500-yard performances have come against the Lions with 532 yards in a 42-7 victory in 2008 and 515 a year later when they won 45-27.


The Saints-Giants game was the most-watched television show Monday night among commercial and cable programs. It carried a 10.7 household coverage rating with about 14.4 million viewers. … Former Saints defensive lineman Derland Moore will meet and greet fans at the Saints Hall of Fame Museum, located at Gate B of the Plaza level, before Sunday’s game from 5-6:30 p.m. All Saints ticket holders are admitted free of charge three hours before and 45 minutes after each game.