Players win appeal in NFL bounty case

The suspensions of Jonathan Vilma and three other players in the NFL’s bounty investigation were lifted Friday by a three-member appeals panel and the league reinstated those players a few minutes later.

While the ruling allows Saints linebacker Vilma, banned for the 2012 season, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove to play immediately, it does not permanently void their suspensions.

Still, the ruling comes just two days before the first full slate of NFL games this season and is a setback for commissioner Roger Goodell and the league.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Goodell would “make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed” for violating the league’s bounty rule.

The ruling does not affect New Orleans coach Sean Payton, also suspended for the season, interim coach Joe Vitt (six games) or general manager Mickey Loomis (six games)

Vikings bid for big game

The Minnesota Vikings have made a formal bid to host a Super Bowl. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirms the team’s application to host either the 2018, 2019 or 2020 Super Bowls has been received.

Around the league

The Vikings are willing to wait until game time to determine whether running back Adrian Peterson plays in the season opener against Jacksonville. He has been recovering from knee surgery performed last December. … Former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, who died Thursday, will be recognized by the team he moved to Baltimore when Cleveland plays Philadelphia on Sunday. … Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak says running back Arian Foster and linebacker Brooks Reed sat out practice and will be “game-time” decisions for the season opener against Miami. … The Panthers listed running back Jonathan Stewart as questionable for Sunday’s season opener at Tampa Bay. … Pro Bowl outside linebacker James Harrison did not practice for a second day, making it unlikely he will play for the Steelers in the season opener at Denver on Sunday.

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