New England Patriots

L-R: Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel; former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork; former Patriots guard Logan Mankins. (Getty Images)

Time to present another red jacket.

The Patriots Hall of Fame has announced its final ballot for induction in 2022. All three names are towering figures from the Pats’ run of dominance under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick: linebacker Mike Vrabel, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, and guard Logan Mankins.

All three finalists will likely don the red jacket some day. It has become a signature look for the Patriots dynasty under Belichick and Brady. Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Faulk, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Matt Light, Willie McGinest, and Richard Seymour are among the former players from that era who have already been inducted.

Mankins, Vrabel, and Wilfork most certainly belong in that same group. But only one at a time can be inducted. So it’ll be interesting to see who the voters favor on this year’s ballot.

The voters, by the way, are the fans. You can go to Patriots.com and cast your vote now through May 16. The winner will be announced soon after that.

Here’s more on each of the three finalists…

  • Mike Vrabel

    Mike Vrabel #50 of the New England Patriots gets ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Green Bay Packers on November 19, 2006 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Patriots defeated the Packers 35-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    Mike Vrabel #50 of the New England Patriots gets ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Green Bay Packers on November 19, 2006 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Patriots defeated the Packers 35-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    Vrabel ought to be the odds-on favorite for induction in 2022, as the “next in line” candidate. This is his sixth straight year on the ballot. Perhaps he’s been passed over long enough.

    Currently the head coach of the Tennessee Titans, Vrabel first made a name for himself when he took his career to a new level as an outside linebacker in New England. He was a key cog in the Pats’ dominant defenses that helped the team win three Super Bowls in four years at the start of Brady’s career.

    In 2003, he recorded 9.5 sacks and made three more in three playoff games, and famously caught a surprise touchdown pass from Brady in a win over the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Vrabel’s peak came in 2007, when he made 12.5 sacks for the 16-0 Patriots and was named a First Team All-Pro at outside linebacker by the Associated Press.

    Perhaps Vrabel takes a day away from Tennessee this summer to don the red jacket in Foxboro.

  • Vince Wilfork

    Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots reacts after he sacked Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos in the second half during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots reacts after he sacked Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos in the second half during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Seymour and Harrison are among the former New England defenders to beat out Vrabel for induction in recent years. Is Wilfork next?

    It wouldn’t be shocking, because Wilfork was a true fan favorite and arguably the best nose tackle of his era. He didn’t play a “sexy” position, but anyone who watched Wilfork during his career could see his uncommon level of athleticism for a 325-pound D-tackle. He was recognized in year-end awards, with first team All-Pro honors in 2012, second team All-Pro awards on three other occasions, and five Pro Bowl selections.

    Wilfork also won two Super Bowls with the Patriots, first as a rookie in 2004 then again in 2014, his final year in New England. He was also a semifinalist for selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, his first year on the ballot.

    So, if Vrabel is bypassed yet again for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame, Wilfork would make sense as the man to do it.

  • Logan Mankins

    Logan Mankins #70 of the New England Patriots gets ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 27, 2005 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 26-16. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

    Logan Mankins #70 of the New England Patriots gets ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on November 27, 2005 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 26-16. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

    Mankins is arguably the greatest offensive lineman of the Brady-Belichick era. Former teammates Matt Light and Nate Solder may be in that conversation, but Mankins is certainly the best guard.

    Though considered a bit of a surprising pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft at the time, Mankins proved Belichick right, year after year. He dominated in both run blocking and pass protection, and endeared himself by playing with a level of nastiness that few other players in New England have achieved.

    Award voters could also plainly see Mankins’ dominance. He was named a First Team All-Pro at guard in 2010, despite playing only nine games (due to infamously holding out for a new contract), and a second team All-Pro five other times.

    Mankins is another former Patriot who made the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot in his first year of eligibility. So you have to think he’ll eventually be enshrined in Foxboro.

  • Prediction: Vince Wilfork

    Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Apologies to Vrabel, but I foresee him being passed over for another year, in favor of Wilfork. The fans may simply love “Big Vince” too much not to fast-track him right to the Patriots Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot.

    It’s also a wonder if the fact that Vrabel is currently in the league, coaching an emerging conference rival for the Patriots, hurts his chances in the eyes of fans. It would be an awkward time for him to celebrate his Patriots legacy. Vrabel should definitely get his red jacket some time down the road, but it feels like he’ll still have to wait, considering his competition.

    Mankins will have to wait, too. Expect Wilfork to be the guy for 2022.