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Judge Rules in Favor of Adrian Peterson [Updated]

Defense attorney Rusty Hardin, (L) and NFL running back Adrian Peterson of the of the Minnesota Vikings address the media after Peterson plead
Adrian Peterson last November. Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images

A judge has ruled in favor of Adrian Peterson after the NFL player’s union sued on his behalf to get him reinstated. Initial reports said that Peterson had been immediately reinstated, but via ESPN, the case will now return to the league’s collectively bargained arbitration process. The judge found that Roger Goodell overstepped his authority in suspending Peterson until at least April 15. Peterson, who had been indicted on a felony charge of injury to a child, pleaded no contest last year to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.

Peterson had been suspended in November for disciplining his son with a switch last May. He was found to have violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, and in a statement at the time of the suspension, the league cited changes to the policy made last August in the wake of the Ray Rice scandal that allowed for harsher punishments under certain circumstances.

The NFL players union sued to get Peterson reinstated, arguing that Goodell was wrong to apply the new policy because it wasn’t instituted until August, after the incident in question. In the lawsuit, the union also argued that an arbitrator who’d upheld the suspension was biased. Today, U.S. District Court Judge David Doty ruled against the NFL.

If Peterson is reinstated, it’s unclear whether he’d play for the Vilkings or another team another team. According to reports, he wants to go elsewhere, though both the Vikings’ coach and general manager have indicated they want him back. He’s scheduled to earn $12.75 million next year, though the Vikings could release him, attempt to restructure his contract, or, come March, try to trade him.

This post has been updated throughout.

Judge Rules in Favor of Adrian Peterson