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Saints activating rookie DT Sheldon Rankins from IR

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The Saints and their troubled defense are getting some much-needed help.

Coach Sean Payton told reporters that first-round defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins is expected to practice on Wednesday for the first time since breaking his fibula during training camp.

Placed on injured reserve before the opener, Rankins will serve as the team's lone designated-to-return player -- and it couldn't come at a better time.

New Orleans currently ranks 31st in total defense and is surrendering a league-worst 33.6 points per tilt. Rankins can't save the squad alone, but he looked great during training camp and immediately fills a desperate need for the Saints.

The 6-foot-2, 305-pound rookie operated as a disruptive force before the injury, showing the traits of an interior "hog molly" with a nose for slamming quarterbacks to the turf. He's just what the doctor ordered in The Big Easy.

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