The 30-year-old made his return to action in a friendly against Dinamo Bucharest after eight months out with a fractured tibia.
Vilanova said after Villa's comeback that the forward will be a big part of his plans this season.
He said: "Last year we missed Villa because he's a player that guarantees goals. He's very necessary to the side.
"I spoke with the doctors and the physios before playing him against Dinamo. It is very important for us to recover players, especially if they are well-loved like Villa is."
Barca begin their attempt to win back the La Liga title from Real Madrid with a match against Real Sociedad later this month.