Vilma filed a complaint in federal court Thursday seeking at least $75,000, The Times-Picayune reported. Vilma said Goodell made statements about him that were based on hearsay.
The National Football League suspended Vilma for the 2012 season in May after investigating allegations the Saints' defensive unit paid players for making big hits on opposing players.
Vilma, a star at the University of Miami, was drafted by the New York Jets in 2004. He was traded to the Saints in 2009.