The Vikings grabbed him at No. 22.
Childress figures the Patriots weren't worried the Vikings would take Harvin because he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine. The Vikings have been extra careful about drafting character players since their infamous Love Boat scandal.
Patriots receivers coach Chad O'Shea was a Vikings assistant for three years.
"New England was right in there," Childress said in Hartman's column. "They were right behind us. No, they didn't think we'd take him [because of off-the-field] issues. Remember, they have our receivers coach there now. So they thought they could hold ... and he'd come to them."
Hartman writes the Vikings worked out Harvin the day before the Patriots did. Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Florida coach Urban Meyer are close friends.
The Patriots supposedly swore Harvin to secrecy, but Childress claims he extracted the info from him.
"They were down there working him out the day after I was there," Childress said. "And [Harvin] wasn't supposed to tell anybody, and I was trying to pull that out of him, who that was. So it was a little cat-and-mouse game that occurred."