The 6-foot-3, 192-pound Arrington had been making a strong case for a roster spot since his selection in the seventh round of the draft. He had two catches for 46 yards, including a 33-yarder, during the Saints' 24-10 preseason victory at Arizona last Thursday.
However, Payton said he injured the toe during the game.
"It's pretty significant," Payton said. "It will be at least a week."
Competition among New Orleans receivers has been fierce since the Saints opened training camp at Millsaps College on July 23.
While leading receiver Marques Colston and veteran David Patten are likely to start, other spots in the rotation are up for grabs.
Wide receiver Robert Meachem, a 2007 first-round draft pick who never played last season, has emerged as the best of the rest so far in camp. Devery Henderson, Lance Moore and Terrance Copper are competing to retain their spots on the regular roster, while return specialist Skyler Green also is trying to show coaches he can be a valuable addition as a receiver as well.
Arrington entered the draft following his junior season at Michigan, his only year as a starter. He had 67 catches for 882 yards and eight touchdowns.
Now is not a good time for Arrington to miss practice, but Payton said the young receiver has been impressive enough to warrant another look when he returns.
"Even in the minicamps, he had done a lot of things that encouraged us," Payton said. "I like the prospect. He's big and he's smart and he knows what we're doing. The key is just getting healthy and that's tough."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press