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Vikings' Peterson given 109-mph speeding ticket, could lose license

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson could lose his driver's license after police clocked him driving at 109 mph -- nearly twice the posted speed limit -- on a suburban highway last weekend.

Peterson said Thursday that he "got a little speeding ticket. I need to be more aware of the speed I was going and not let it happen again."

Peterson was pulled over just before 8:30 p.m. Saturday while driving his BMW in a 55-mph zone on state Highway 62 -- a normally busy stretch of road known as the Crosstown that connects Minneapolis with southern and western suburbs, Edina police spokeswoman Molly Anderson said. She said Peterson was given a citation and allowed to drive away after what appeared to be a "very routine" traffic stop.

Anderson said police clocked Peterson going 109 mph, but the running back told the AP he wasn't driving that fast.

"But I know it was a speeding ticket, and that's what I got issued for," Peterson said.

In the police video obtained by the AP, Peterson told the officer he believed he was going "probably about 85." When told he was clocked at 109 mph, Peterson said, "Seriously? ... I didn't think I was going that fast."

The stop happened the night before Peterson ran for 85 yards and one touchdown in a 36-10 victory over the Chicago Bears. The All-Pro also fumbled the ball twice, losing one of them.

Peterson said he was headed to the downtown hotel where the team stays the night before home games. He said he wasn't late at that point.

"After I got pulled over, then I was late," Peterson said.

In the video, Peterson can be heard telling the officer that he was trying to make it to the hotel on time, adding "I know it's not a valid excuse."

The video shows Peterson's car being pulled over and the officer going up to the driver's side window. The driver isn't visible but can be heard. After the officer issued the citation, he thanked Peterson for stopping instead of trying to flee, then added, "Good luck to you tomorrow."

In 2005, Minnesota lawmakers approved tougher sanctions for drivers who are caught at excessive speeds, and one provision requires revocation of a license for at least six months for driving faster than 100 mph.

Peterson has 21 days from the date of the citation to challenge it in court.

Sen. Steve Murphy, a Democrat, sponsored the law to send a message about irresponsible driving.

"Mr. Peterson is going to be walking for a little while," Murphy said. "That's an automatic suspension for anything over 100 mph. Just because he can go 100 mph on the football field doesn't mean he needs to go 100 mph on our roads."

Added Murphy: "Maybe Adrian's miscue will save the life of someone else, and that's the good that can come out of this."

Minnesota State Patrol Capt. Matt Langer, who wasn't involved in the Peterson stop, said whether to cite a driver for speeding or for misdemeanor reckless driving is a judgment call. Langer said it comes down to how great a risk the speeder posed to themselves or others on the road.

"Any time you speed at all, it's dangerous," Langer said. "But to that extreme, it's just absolutely ridiculous."

Vikings coach Brad Childress downplayed any concern about Peterson's alleged high-speed driving.

"I don't know. I'd stay out of the police industry, if that in fact is true," said Childress, who added, "You got to take care of yourself. You can't put yourself in harm's way."

Childress acknowledged that Peterson was late to the hotel Saturday, but the coach declined to discuss the possibility of any punishment.

"He was there shortly thereafter, and as we do with everything that's in-house stuff," the coach said.

Peterson, a first-round draft pick out of Oklahoma, led the NFC with 1,341 rushing yards in his rookie season with Minnesota in 2007, then led the league last season with 1,760 yards. He's third in the NFL this season with 1,084 yards.

Peterson has become one of the sport's most popular players, with a high national profile that includes an endorsement with Nike. He has no known prior off-the-field troubles, and he's active in the community with charity work. Peterson annually hosts an event for Special Olympics -- one of his favorite causes -- at the Vikings' practice facility.

Minnesota (10-1) visits Arizona (7-4) this Sunday night in a matchup of division leaders.

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