Saints place Pierre Thomas, Akiem Hicks on I.R., promote two from practice squad

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints placed running back Pierre Thomas and defensive end Akiem Hicks on injured reserve Friday to make room for two young practice-squad players they wanted to lock up for 2015.

They promoted receiver Brandon Coleman and linebacker Jerry Franklin off the practice squad -- though Saints coach Sean Payton said he doesn’t “anticipate” either playing in Sunday’s season finale at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Knowing Pierre and Akiem were not going to be able to play in this game, it’s really a way to secure and put two younger guys on contract and bring them up,” Payton said.

Thomas suffered a rib injury last week against the Atlanta Falcons, while Hicks has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury. Payton said he doesn’t know if either injury is serious enough to require offseason surgery -- especially in Thomas' case.

The Saints also ruled out left tackle Terron Armstead for Sunday’s game with a neck injury, though he wasn’t placed on injured reserve. Armstead said earlier this week that he’s not sure if surgery is a possibility for his injury.

Defensive tackle John Jenkins (abdomen) was listed as questionable after not practicing all week. Offensive tackle Zach Strief (neck) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) are listed as probable after practicing on a limited basis the past two days.

Coleman, a big target at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, was the most highly touted of the Saints undrafted free-agent signings this year after he was highly rated by some analysts coming out of Rutgers. He had some ups and downs in the summer, but Payton said he’s been happy with Coleman's development -- as well as that of fellow undrafted rookie receiver Seantavius Jones, who was promoted to the active roster earlier this month.

“He and Seantavius have really been impressive. Training camp, this whole season on the practice squad, and everything they’re doing, they’ve been real good,” Payton said. “He’s got size, he’s tough. I like the work ethic of this group. It’s a good group of young receivers when you look at him, Seantavius and then [first-round pick Brandin] Cooks.”