Source: Peterson open to lawsuit if NFL holds him in limbo

NFL columnist
Yahoo Sports

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is prepared to fight the NFL – and if it becomes necessary, sue it – if the league continues to hold his career in undefined purgatory, a source told Yahoo Sports.

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The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the NFL on Monday, asking the league to remove Peterson from the commissioner's exempt list. The NFLPA cited an agreement between Peterson and the NFL, which "based on explicit language" would reinstate the running back once his legal case was resolved.

Last week, Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge related to disciplining his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. Since that plea deal, the NFL has not moved to reinstate Peterson, and has not given a timetable for when it would resolve the issue. If the league reinstates Peterson and then subsequently suspends him, it is expected that the NFLPA will appeal the suspension. 

If the NFL intends on keeping Peterson in limbo indefinitely, the running back "would be open" to suing the league to obtain a resolution, the source said.

The Vikings' front office has privately expressed support for Peterson's return, two sources familiar with the Vikings told Yahoo Sports. However, at least one Vikings executive expressed concerns about how Peterson's return would impact the team's sponsorship deals, a source said.

As it stands, the NFLPA grievance is attempting to force the NFL to act. Specifically, pushing for reinstatement followed by whatever measures the league intends to take under the personal conduct policy (fine, suspension, etc.). As part of that push, the NFLPA is seeking to have an independent arbitrator assigned to the grievance for an expedited hearing, which could, in theory, take place as early as the end of this week. This process is similar to the one the league is currently engaged in with former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and could entail testimony from Peterson and league officials.

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