NEW ORLEANS (AP)Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins is active for the first time this season, marking the completion of his rehabilitation from an Achilles tendon tear last January.
Rankins, the 12th overall draft pick in 2016, was second on the Saints with a career-high eight sacks last season and he was the anchor of a defensive interior that helped New Orleans rank second in the NFL against the run last season.
His was listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week on Friday and his return is timely for the Saints, who are playing without star quarterback Drew Brees and trying to keep pace with a Dallas offense that through three weeks this season ranked third in the NFL in yards rushing and fourth in yards passing.
Dallas linebacker Luke Gifford, who’d been questionable to play with an ankle injury, has been ruled out.
While receiver Amari Cooper was limited in practice with an ankle injury and had a precautionary MRI this week, he is active. Dallas already had listed starting defensive end Tyrone Crawford (hip) and receiver Michael Gallup (knee) as out.
The Saints ruled out receiver Tre’Quan Smith (ankle) in their final injury report Friday. New Orleans’ healthy scratches include defensive lineman Mario Edwards and cornerback Ken Crawley.
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