The NFL officially announced that they are appealing the ruling handed down by Judge David Doty regarding Adrian Peterson on Thursday.
Judge Doty’s order did not contain any determinations concerning the fairness of the appeals process under the CBA, including the commissioner’s longstanding authority to appoint a designee to act as hearing officer. Even so, we believe strongly that Judge Doty’s order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court’s role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed a notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court.
The Minnesota Vikings have also released a statement regarding the Adrian Peterson ruling.
Adrian Peterson is an important member of the Minnesota Vikings, and our focus remains on welcoming him back when he is able to rejoin our organization. Today’s ruling leaves Adrian’s status under the control of the NFL, the NFLPA and the legal system, and we will have no further comment at this time.
Multiple reports have clarified that Adrian Peterson hasn’t officially been reinstated, as his case will be sent back to Harold Henderson.
This means that Peterson’s case will now go back to following the CBA process.
- ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirms the report.
- The NFL doesn’t have a comment at this time, but said they are reviewing the decision.
Here’s the statement from Judge David Doty:
Because the court finds that the arbitration award must be vacated on the grounds set forth above, it need not decide whether Henderson was evidently partial or whether the award violates fundamental fairness. The court will remand the matter for further proceedings before the arbitrator as permitted by the CBA.
This is huge news for Peterson as he’s now able to return to the Vikings and the two sides can figure out if he’ll be back with the team in 2015 or if they consider making him available for trade.
As things stood, Peterson wouldn’t have been eligible to be reinstated until April, which left him at a clear disadvantage given that free agency would have already wound down to point where only a few teams would be interested in pursuing the veteran running back.
It’s worth mentioning that the NFL can still appeal the ruling and there’s at least a chance that the decision could be overturned by the Eighth Circuit court.
A source tells Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that Peterson is still willing to return to Minnesota next season, even though he’s reportedly disappointed with how the team and the fanbase reacted to the news of his child-abuse charge.
Peterson, 29, still has another three years remaining on his seven-year, $96 million contract that included $36 million guaranteed. Over the next three years, Peterson stands to make base salaries of $12.75 million (2015), $14.75 million (2016), and $16.75 million (2017).
As for his cap figures, the Vikings are looking at $15.4 million (2015), $15 million (2016), and $17 million (2017).
According to OverTheCap.com, releasing Peterson outright would free up $13 million in available cap space and create $2.4 million dead money.
Peterson appeared in just one game for the Vikings and ran for 75 yards on 21 carries (3.6 YPC) while adding two receptions for 18 yards receiving and no touchdowns.
We’ll have more regarding the Vikings and Peterson as the news is available.