Vaccaro (groin) said Wednesday that he's been completely healthy for the past three weeks, Josh Katzenstein of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Even though Vaccaro, who will hit free agency March 14, has stated that he hopes to remain with New Orleans next season, the team isn't planning on re-signing the 2013 first-round pick, per Katzenstein. The fact that he's back to full strength after finishing 2017 on injured reserve due to a core-muscle injury -- which Vaccaro said involved a complete tear of his adductor muscle -- should help make the 27-year-old one of the more coveted defenders on the open market. Across five NFL campaigns, Vaccaro has racked up 375 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 30 pass breakups and eight interceptions while playing in 68 of a possible 80 regular-season games.
Vaccaro (groin) finished the season with 60 tackles (48 solo), 1.5 sacks and a career-high three interceptions in just games. He also scored the first touchdown of his NFL career on an end-zone fumble recovery in Week 6. Vaccaro was benched in the second half of the Saints' Week 2 game against the Patriots for poor play, but the fifth-year pro responded by notching three interceptions over the course of his next four games. Unfortunately, injuries once again derailed a promising season. Vaccaro missed both Weeks 10 and 11 with a groin injury. The strong safety attempted to play through the injury for four weeks thereafter, but largely struggled during that span before being placed on injured reserve and undergoing core-muscle surgery. It will be interesting to see what happens this offseason with Vaccaro, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. The 2013 first-round pick has flashed Pro Bowl-caliber potential but he has also battled health issues and inconsistency throughout his career. At only 26 years old, Vaccaro could draw some big interest on the open market and the Saints may not want to get into a bidding war after drafting safeties Marcus Williams and Vonn Bell over the past two years. Wherever Vaccaro ends up, he will likely continue to be an IDP asset as long as health prevails.
Vaccaro (groin/wrist) will be placed on injured reserve this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Vaccaro has played in each of the Saints' last four contests since sitting out Weeks 10 and 11 with the groin issue. Despite handling fairly sizable workloads in all of those contests, however, Vaccaro was never completely healthy, as Rapoport notes that the safety's adductor muscle had completely torn off the bone. He'll require surgery to address that matter, and another procedure to fix his wrist. That should put Vaccaro in good health as he becomes a free agent for the first time this offseason, but his absence for the rest of the regular season and playoffs represents a huge loss for the Saints' secondary. Vonn Bell looks like the leading candidate to replace Vaccaro in the starting lineup.
Vaccaro had 10 tackles (eight solo) in Sunday's 31-19 win against the Jets. Vaccaro missed both Week 10 and Week 11 with a groin injury and he also left last week's contest early after apparently aggravating that lingering ailment. Against the Jets, however, Vaccaro showed no ill effects from the injury, as he notched double-digit tackles for the first time this season. Vaccaro's 60 total tackles rank third on the Saints, and the team's starting strong safety should be a quality option for IDP owners in a Week 16 tilt against the Falcons.
Vaccaro (groin) won't carry an injury designation into Sunday's game against the Jets, Nick Underhill of The Baton Rouge Advocate reports. Vaccaro was a limited participant in practice throughout the week, but it appears the Saints were just being cautious with their starting strong safety. The 26-year-old has an appetizing matchup against inexperienced Jets quarterback Bryce Petty in Week 15, which could translate to some turnover-producing opportunities for Vaccaro.