NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that U.S. District Judge David S. Doty has ruled in favor of Peterson, granting an NFL Players Association motion to vacate a previous ruling by Harold Henderson.
"Petition to vacate the arbitration award was granted," Judge Doty remarked, according to Rapoport. "Case was remanded for further proceedings ... as the (collective bargaining agreement) may permit."
The NFL, however, announced Thursday afternoon that Peterson will return to the Commissioner's Exempt List, and the league will appeal the ruling made by Judge Doty to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
"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," the league said in a statement.
"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."
The NFLPA earlier issued the following statement in regard to Doty's decision:
"This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness," the statement read. "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."
The NFL suspended Peterson on Nov. 18 stemming from a no contest plea on what the league called "an incident of abusive discipline" toward his 4-year-old son. Because the appeal was denied, Peterson was not eligible for reinstatement prior to April 15. The NFLPA felt that the NFL's arbitrator exceeded his authority by suspending Peterson.
Peterson's Vikings future remains murky. The former league MVP said in a recent interview he is "still uneasy" about rejoining the Vikings after the team helped expedite his placement on the Commissioner's Exempt List in September. The two sides could also reach a financial impasse -- Peterson is scheduled to earn a base salary of $12.75 million and count $15.4 million against the salary cap in 2015. Peterson has said he doesn't believe he should have to take a pay cut.
The Vikings said in a statement that their focus is on "welcoming (Peterson) back when he is able to rejoin our organization," and his status is under the control of the league, union and legal system.