Why should they even care?
Well for starters, it just made the upcoming negotiations for a new Percy Harvin contract potentially much more tense. Harvin hasn't been in the league as long as Bowe (four years vs. six), but on average, their numbers compare pretty favorably.
As you can see by the above chart, while Bowe has clearly outproduced Harvin in terms of total numbers, he is only a bit behind in the "per year" category.
In fact, Harvin can make the argument that he's at least better than Vincent Jackson, and sure as heck worth more than Devin Hester, both of whom have contracts right behind Bowe.
You can see his argument and add to it the one that says he is almost more important to his offense than Bowe is to Kansas City's (depending on what happens in KC this year).
We knew he'd ask for a lot of money, though—this just puts up how much he'll shoot for.
This also is likely to put the kibosh on any thoughts of a big-name free-agent receiver joining the team.
As things stand now, the Vikings are probably not going to dive into free agency. However, there was some hope (vain or not, you decide) that the market might respond in such a way as to force a guy like Greg Jennings or Mike Wallace to take a more reasonable contract.
We can probably assume that's not going to happen.
Bowe's contract, while out of reach for players like Wallace and Jennings, is the starting point for negotiations.
The problem becomes, how much will the Vikes spend now when they still have so many other holes to fill? The question isn't much different than it was before the Bowe contract—this is a team which has to balance out where it spends it's money and what it needs—but the overall cost changes the framework.
And beyond the basic financial ramifications, where Harvin is—if he's with the team at all—will factor into how they handle another wide receiver.
If Harvin remains with the club, they certainly won't spend the same amount of money on two guys. Either they part ways with Harvin and roll the dice in free agency, or they stick with Harvin and continue to draft or sign younger players with upside and build around him.
The end result of a contract like Bowe's is that it all but knocks them out of the running for a marque receiver.
Which at the end of the day is fine. There are certainly questions around this year's crop of free-agent wide receivers (i.e., Wallace's attitude, Jennings' health, Wes Welker's age), and aside from a few guys, they aren't really going to be worth what they want to be paid.
This isn't a team which is "one receiver away" either. They can't put all their money into one position.
So while the Vikings might still take a look at who is available, ultimately they'll likely decide it's too much money to spend.
Is there someone in free agency you think the team should go after? Throw them out there in the comments.