Adrian Peterson

*A federal judge has cleared the way for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to possibly be reinstated, ruling that an NFL arbitrator “failed to meet his duty” in a child abuse case that shook the league.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is eligible to be reinstated after Judge David Doty ruled in favor of the NFLPA and overturned the NFL’s suspension. U.S. District Judge David Doty issued his order Thursday, less than three weeks after hearing oral arguments.

Doty overruled NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson’s denial of Peterson’s appeal. The ruling sends the case back for further proceedings consistent with the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.

The league suspended Peterson through at least April 15 under its personal conduct policy. But Doty said in his 16-page ruling that Henderson “simply disregarded the law of the shop and in doing so failed to meet his duty” under the collective bargaining agreement.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will “review the decision.”

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement the decision was a “victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness.”

The crux of the issue was the application of the enhanced personal conduct policy, increasing a suspension for players involved with domestic violence from two games to six games. Because that was implemented after the injuries occurred to Peterson’s son, delivered by a wooden switch that Peterson was using for discipline, the union contended that the prior standard of punishment should apply.

“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,” Smith said. “This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game.”