Vikings star Adrian Peterson's suspension vacated by judge

A Minnesota judge has sided with the NFLPA in its case vs. the NFL over Adrian Peterson's suspension, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has confirmed.

 The NFLPA was seeking immediate reinstatement for the former All Pro and while Doty's ruling states the arbitrator Harold Henderson's decision is vacated and the NFL erred in its handling of this discipline, the next step remains murky. According to the final statement of Doty's 16-page ruling:

"The case is remanded for such further proceedings consistent with this order as the CBA may permit. LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY‎."

NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith issued this statement shortly after the ruling:

“This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness. Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players' rights. This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game.”

Peterson's child-abuse case has since been resolved in the state of Texas and Judge Doty ruled on Thursday with the player and the union in its case against the league. The NFL is planning to appeal the ruling.

If the ruling stands, that means once Peterson is officially reinstated, he can now return to the Vikings -- though it appears that he's ready to move on from Minnesota. On Monday, La Canfora reported that, during last week's combine, "Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, had to be separated from a member of Minnesota's front office during a heated verbal altercation about the former Pro Bowler."

More from La Canfora: "Peterson, who is signed through 2017 and set to make $13 million in 2015, has no intention of playing again for the Vikings, sources said. Peterson, sources said, lost faith and trust in the franchise after a tumultuous ordeal over his child abuse charges that resulted in him missing nearly the entire season on the Commissioner's Exempt List while his legal situation played out."


We talked about where Peterson's could end up in 2015 on the latest Eye on Football podcast (never miss an episode by subscribing here):


One report suggests Peterson wants to play for the Cowboys, though another report indicated that the running back hasn't yet requested a trade out of Minnesota.

Whatever happens in the coming months, this much is certain: Peterson will be playing in the NFL in 2015. Right or wrong, that's the reality in professional sports; talent trumps just about everything else. It's also why Ray Rice can't find work -- not because he punched his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator, but because he was a mediocre-at-best running back when the Ravens released him and the NFL suspended him.

So where might Peterson end up next season? CBSSports.com's Will Brinson identified four teams that make sense:

Cowboys: Dallas might not be able to pay its own running back, so the idea of paying Peterson seems crazy. Except it's impossible to forget the pre-2014 call Peterson placed to Jerry Jones to let him know he would love to play for the Cowboys at the end of his career (Jones then managed to waltz his way into potential tampering charges before backpeddling out of them). He wants to play in Texas and the Cowboys would be a contender with Peterson coming out of the backfield behind that beastly offensive line.

Colts: Indy has been trying to score a franchise running back to complement Andrew Luckand work in Pep Hamilton's system for a few years now, striking out badly on a Trent Richardson home-run swing. T-Rich's tenure in Indy is coming to an awkward, inevitable conclusion and the Colts can cut him this offseason with no real financial repercussions (someone give Mike Holmgren some credit for that contract already). Indy has $36 million in cap space and GM Ryan Grigson hasn't been shy about making aggressive moves. Indy's in a weak division and coming off an appearance in the AFC Championship Game, so there's contender potential here.

Jets: There are bigger priorities for the Jets than the running game, like finding weapons in the passing game and figuring out if Geno Smith is the guy under center. (Also, they should sign a cornerback this offseason.) But Peterson could fix a lot of potential woes on offense by carrying this unit on his back in a similar fashion to what he has done in Minnesota for years now. The Jets are squatting on $48 million in cap space so they have the room to make the financials work from that perspective.

Chargers: Unsuccessful attempts from previous Chargers management to replace LaDainian Tomlinson resulted in spending a first-round pick on Ryan Mathews (immensely talented but never able to really put it all together) and a hodgepodge group of running backs around Philip Rivers. General manager Tom Telesco told CBSSports.com he's "a big believer in the draft" and would continue building that way but acknowledged the Chargers wouldn't be gun shy about diving into free agency if necessary. Peterson would be a massive splash and could provide the running game support Rivers has lacked for years.

Brinson mentions that Oakland and Jacksonville, two teams flush with salary-cap space, could also be options. Our Pete Prisco chatted with former agent Joel Corry on this topic as well in the below video:


A brief timeline of events that got us to this point:

- Sept. 12: Peterson is indicted in Texas for "reckless or negligent injury to a child."

- Sept. 14: Vikings deactivate Peterson for Week 2 game.

- Sept. 15: Vikings announce that Peterson will play in Week 3.

- Sept. 17: Facing public pressure, the Vikings announce that Peterson is out until his legal issues are resolved, and he's placed on the commissioner's exempt list.

- Oct. 9: Prosecutors filed documents to have Peterson arrested again after he admitted tosmoking "a little weed," which is a violation of his bond conditions.

- Nov. 4: Peterson enters a no contest plea, and is fined 4,000, ordered to serve 80 hours of community service and is placed on probation.

- Nov. 18: NFL suspends Peterson for the rest of the season.

- Dec. 12: The NFL denies Peterson's appeal.

- Feb. 26: Federal judge lifts suspension, Peterson free to return to Vikings.

Adrian Peterson has been reinstated but where will he play in 2015? (Getty Images)
Adrian Peterson has been reinstated but where will he play in 2015? (Getty Images)
CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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