Wilfork says Patriots need Pro Bowl guard Mankins

Patriots Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins hasn’t backed off his demand for a trade. But at least one Patriots veteran hopes the team will reconsider its position.

Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork told the Boston Herald on Thursday that Mankins is what the Patriots need — a nasty, aggressive player on the offensive side:

    “I think he is the best offensive (guard) out there. Hands down,” Wilfork told the Herald in a phone interview today from his Florida home. “I’ll stand by that. I see the guy every year in camp and in practice we see each other. He’s every bit of what you look for in an offensive lineman. He’s got the toughness, he’s got the strength, he’s got the quickness, you name it, he’s a complete football player, and to have one of them on the offensive line, it’s very rare.
    “But he’s one of the ones out there, he can make a difference himself in whatever he’s doing. But it’s a business. I understand it’s a business. That’s how I feel about it. For what it’s worth, I don’t want him to go anywhere. I think we’d lose someone very, very special. Somebody that’s dedicated. But business is business. Sometimes things don’t pan out the way you want it to pan out. But I want him as a teammate. But if not, hopefully we’ll meet up again.”

The Patriots have a lot of business on their docket. Wilfork signed a long-term contract this year, but the team will soon need to give QB Tom Brady a new deal and decide if it wants to keep Randy Moss. The veteran receiver predicted that he will not be back with the Patriots in 2010. The team doesn’t have to move quickly on Mankins because he is a restricted free agent.

The Patriots have, at times, appeared cold to some of their core players. CB Asante Samuel was allowed to walk away as a free agent, signing with the Eagles in 2008. And the team was downright cruel to DE Richard Seymour, giving him what some might consider the NFL’s version of the death penalty by dealing him to the Raiders.

Mankins had better be careful what he wishes for.

And while we’re discussing core Patriots players, a quick update on WR Wes Welker, who told Fox Sports Radio’s Steve Hartman and Friends (via Sports Radio Interviews) that his knee is “doing well kind of plugging along getting in more of a training mode than a rehab mode.”

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