Johnson has been nursing an ankle injury, while tight end Eric Ebron was sick. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had a neck injury, right tackle Michael Ola had knee soreness and safety Glover Quin had an ankle injury.
Saints right guard Jahri Evans, listed as probable this week after missing two games with an ankle injury, has been activated, as has defensive tackle John Jenkins, who missed the past two games with concussion symptoms.
New Orleans deactivated only healthy players, the most significant among them veteran linebacker David Hawthorne.
Detroit's inactives are receiver Corey Fuller, running back George Winn, offensive tackle Corey Robinson, center Gabe Ikard, cornerback Bill Bentley, and defensive tackles Jermelle Cudjo and Gabe Wright.
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