Banished Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson secured a win in his fight with the NFL on Thursday, when a federal judge vacated the arbitration award that upheld his suspension.
However, it wasn't immediately clear whether the NFL would reinstate Peterson in light of U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty's 16-page ruling, which said the case "is remanded for such further proceedings consistent with this order as the CBA may permit."
That could mean sending the case back to appeals officer Harold Henderson, whose decision to uphold Commissioner Roger Goodell's suspension of Peterson in December drew a rebuke from Doty on several grounds.
The NFL Players Association, which sued the league and the NFL Management Council on behalf of itself and Peterson, issued a statement "on overturning of Adrian Peterson's suspension," calling it "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," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in the statement.
"This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game."
The NFL said it will review the ruling.
Goodell originally suspended Peterson for the rest of the 2014 season, with reinstatement no sooner than April 15 following Peterson's no-contest plea to a misdemeanor charge for injuring his 4-year-old son while disciplining him with a tree branch.
Appeals officer Harold Henderson — who spent roughly two decades in working in the NFL office — upheld the decision Dec. 12 in a decision that called the situation "arguably one of the most egregious cases of domestic violence" in Goodell's nine-year tenure.
But Doty vacated Henderson's arbitration award on multiple grounds: that it "fails to draw its essence from the CBA" and that Henderson "strayed beyond the issues submitted by the NFLPA and in doing so exceeded his authority" as an arbitrator.