9:25am: The NFLPA has publicly posted its 75-page petition on behalf of Peterson, in PDF form.
8:48am: The NFL Players Association has formally filed a lawsuit challenging arbitrator Harold Henderson‘s ruling on Adrian Peterson‘s suspension in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, reports Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The suit from the union had been expected since the moment Henderson issued his ruling upholding Peterson’s suspension on Friday.
Under the terms of Peterson’s suspension, the Vikings running back will be forced to miss the rest of the 2014 season, and won’t be considered for reinstatement until at least April 15. Since NFL free agency begins in March, being reinstated in April or later would significantly affect Peterson’s ability to find work, if the Vikings decide to part ways with him. Of course, there’s no guarantee that he’ll hit the open market, but Minnesota will likely only bring back the former MVP if the two sides can work out a new contract that reduces Peterson’s cap hit.
The lawsuit filed on Peterson’s behalf by the NFLPA is expected to contend that Henderson was not truly a neutral arbitrator, having previously worked for the league. A recording – obtained by ABC News – of NFL executive Troy Vincent allegedly assuring Peterson that he’ll only be suspended for two games will also likely play a part in the suit.
Following Henderson’s announcement on Friday, we learned that Peterson had considered the possibility of retiring, but given his apparent willingness to engage in a legal battle to overturn his suspension, it doesn’t appear he’s leaning that way at the moment.