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Kenny Vaccaro set for season-ending ankle surgery

A promising rookie campaign has come to an end for Kenny Vaccaro.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Carolina Panthers' 17-13 win over the New Orleans Saints from Week 16 on Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 2 p.m. ET.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton announced Monday that the first-year safety will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair the fractured ankle he suffered in Week 16's loss to the Carolina Panthers.

It's a costly loss for a Saints team that ceded control of the NFC South on Sunday and has yet to clinch a playoff spot. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called Vaccaro the best overall safety in the league after watching the rookie master the demands of a scheme that asks plenty from its secondary.

Ryan said in September that the workload dumped on Vaccaro -- the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft -- was the most he's ever "put on a rookie's plate" in a decade of running NFL defenses.

Used all over the field, Vaccaro's coverage skills have improved down the stretch during a campaign that should net him consideration for defensive rookie of the year honors.

Playing at safety and slot corner, Vaccaro can't easily be replaced. For now, expect to see plenty of Roman Harper in Week 17.

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