Thursday, December 3, 2009
Updated: December 4, 10:49 AM ET
Peterson cited for speeding
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings star 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 Minneapolis highway last weekend.
Peterson told The Associated Press on 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 the 24-year-old Peterson going 109 mph, but Peterson 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.
The stop happened the night before Peterson ran for 85 yards and a touchdown in a 36-10 victory over the Chicago Bears. The All-Pro also fumbled twice, with one of them a turnover for the Vikings.
Peterson said he was headed to the downtown hotel where the team stays the night before home games. He said he was not late at that point.
"After I got pulled over, then I was late," Peterson said.
In 2005, Minnesota lawmakers approved tougher sanctions for drivers caught at excessive speeds, and one provision requires revocation 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. That's an automatic suspension for anything over 100 mph," Murphy said. "Just because he can go 100 mph on the football field doesn't mean he needs to go 100 mph on our roads."
He added, "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."
Coach Brad Childress downplayed any concern about Peterson's alleged high speed.
"I don't know. I'd stay out of the police industry, if that in fact is true," Childress said, adding: "You got to take care of yourself. You can't put yourself in harm's way."
Childress acknowledged Peterson was late to the hotel but 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 from Palestine, Texas, led the NFC with 1,341 rushing yards in his rookie season with Minnesota in 2007 and then led the league last season with 1,760 yards rushing. He's third in the NFL this year 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 a Special Olympics event at the team's practice facility, one of his favorite causes.
Minnesota (10-1) plays at Arizona (7-4) this Sunday night in a matchup of division leaders.