Notebook: Blackmon frustrated, struggling

The Vikings said Justin Blackmon was equally rated with Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne, but Blackmon has been struggling to grasp the Jaguars offense. Plus, Cowboys CB Mike Jenkins isn't on the trade market, exonerated Brian Banks gets a tryout, and Terrell Owens was released by an Indoor Football League team.

Justin Blackmon was the first receiver drafted in the 2012 draft, but that doesn't mean he's immune to the steep learning curve rookies face entering the NFL.

Blackmon, a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the top receiver in college football at Oklahoma State, missed most of Jacksonville's rookie minicamp with a mild foot injury. He's back on the field, but acclimating to the pro offense of first-year coach Mike Mularkey has been challenging.

"When he knows what he's doing, he's very good," said Mularkey. "When he doesn't, he's lost."

Mularkey said the problem for Blackmon is play-to-play awareness and learning where and how to execute each call.

What Mularkey wants to see Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, do more frequently is stop and ask questions, not drift further away from what he should be doing. Mularkey said he told all players on the first day of camp never to go to the line of scrimmage not knowing what to do.

"I would prefer you say, 'Hey, I'm not sure what to do.' Ask, so the play doesn't get totally blown out of proportion. I'd much admire and respect a player that doesn't know what he's got and turns around and asks than I do a guy that walks out there and stands at the line of scrimmage, where he's in a three-point and doesn't know what to do."

Mularkey quickly developed sixth overall pick Julio Jones into a consistent force with the Falcons last season. The Jaguars don't have an established quarterback – Blaine Gabbert is ahead of Chad Henne on the current depth chart – as Mularkey did with Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and also lack an established veteran with experience in the offense. Because Mularkey is installing the offense on the fly, even longtime pro such as Laurent Robinson are ingesting it for the first time.

"There's two different speeds," Mularkey said. "He's had a ton thrown at him, he's been put in there more than anybody else, so he's had more chances to have mistakes. I think he knows our feelings on it.

Cowboys' Jenkins not on market despite wishes

Mike Jenkins might want out of Dallas, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has no intention of granting the cornerback's wish.

The Cowboys gave Brandon Carr $50.1 million over the next five years to leave the Chiefs and then traded up to nab LSU's Morris Claiborne with the No. 6 overall pick in last month's NFL Draft. And with veteran Orlando Scandrick already an accomplished nickelback, Jenkins would like an opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere.

The Colts have reportedly shown interest, but Jones indicated Jenkins might as well keep his suitcase in the attic.

"There's nothing that I can conceive that would help us more as a football team and help us accomplish where we're going to be next year than having Jenkins on the team," Jones told reporters Wednesday.

"I'm sure not interested in anything in the future. I'm all about what we can do (this) year."

Jenkins has skipped the team's voluntary offseason program, and is due to earn $1.05 million in the final year of the rookie contract he signed as a first-round pick in 2007.

"He can come in here and maybe be a part of something very special, a concept that's very special when you have that kind of talent, that kind of size in corners," Jones said. "He could have a year that could put him in great shape for his future and certainly have done what he was contracted and what he's paid to do and what he should be doing, and that's help the Dallas Cowboys win a world championship."

Jenkins also underwent offseason shoulder surgery. He played through pain much of last season after suffering a dislocation.

"We want Mike Jenkins around our football team, just like we want everybody around our football team," coach Jason Garrett said last week. "We had 60 guys on our roster for most of the offseason, and we had 59 at the facility working out involved in our offseason program. We have 90 guys on our team now, and we pretty much had 89 guys around here doing everything we wanted them to do.

Exonerated Banks invited to Seahawks' tryout

Brian Banks might still just get his chance to play for Pete Carroll.

Banks was invited to work out for the Seahawks on June 7. Carroll recruited Banks, a highly ranked high school player in California who intended to play for Southern Cal before pleaded no contest to a rape charge. Banks spent more than five years in prison; he was accused of rape in 2002 after he'd been offered a scholarship to USC.

Recently the high school acquaintance who brought the original charges confessed the sexual encounter was consensual, reaching out to Banks and admitting she felt overwhelmed by guilt.

"I'll make 'em happy," said Banks of what to expect at his first NFL workout. "After all I've been through these last 10 years, I can still do some things that will impress you."

Banks has been offered a job by the Arizona Diamondbacks but said he's in the best shape of his life. The Chiefs, Redskins and Dolphins are reportedly also interested in taking a look at Banks.

The 6-4, 240-pound linebacker said he anticipates running the 40 in the 4.6 to 4.7 range.

"I feel confident that any team that gave me an opportunity would see I can play football," Banks said. "But this (overtuned case) had to come first. There is no football without freedom."

Terrell Owens released by Indoor Football League

Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens was released by the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League on Tuesday for failing to appear at a charity event, according to the Wranglers' website.

"The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for Mr. Owens was his no-show to a scheduled appearance at a local children's hospital with other Wrangler players and coaches," team president and co-owner Tommy Benizio said in a statement on the team's website. "It is not the desire of the Allen Wranglers' organization to disappoint fans by having our most notable player miss a scheduled appearance."

Team owner Jon Frankel said in a statement, "Our fans are amongst the best in the league and it is impossible to maintain a player when even our fans notice and comment on a player's lack of effort both on and off the field. We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community."

The release also stated that Owens "recently made it clear that he had no intentions of playing in the team's upcoming crucial away games in Nebraska and Everett."

Owens has been trying to get back into the NFL, and he had joined the Wranglers in February with a deal that included a piece of ownership of the franchise. But, according to the team's statement, Owens "will no longer participate as team owner."

Owens, 38, last played in the NFL in 2010, when he had 72 receptions for the Cincinnati Bengals.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" Justin Blackmon was the first receiver drafted in the 2012 draft, but that doesn't mean he's immune to the steep learning curve rookies face entering the NFL. Blackmon, a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the top receiver in college football at Oklahoma State, missed most of Jacksonville's rookie minicamp with a mild foot injury. He's back on the field, but acclimating to the pro offense of first-year coach Mike Mularkey has been challenging. \"When he knows what he's doing, he's very good,\" said Mularkey. \"When he doesn't, he's lost.\" Mularkey said the problem for Blackmon is play-to-play awareness and learning where and how to execute each call. What Mularkey wants to see Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, do more frequently is stop and ask questions, not drift further away from what he should be doing. Mularkey said he told all players on the first day of camp never to go to the line of scrimmage not knowing what to do. \"I would prefer you say, 'Hey, I'm not sure what to do.' Ask, so the play doesn't get totally blown out of proportion. I'd much admire and respect a player that doesn't know what he's got and turns around and asks than I do a guy that walks out there and stands at the line of scrimmage, where he's in a three-point and doesn't know what to do.\" Mularkey quickly developed sixth overall pick Julio Jones into a consistent force with the Falcons last season. The Jaguars don't have an established quarterback – Blaine Gabbert is ahead of Chad Henne on the current depth chart – as Mularkey did with Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and also lack an established veteran with experience in the offense. Because Mularkey is installing the offense on the fly, even longtime pro such as Laurent Robinson are ingesting it for the first time. \"There's two different speeds,\" Mularkey said. \"He's had a ton thrown at him, he's been put in there more than anybody else, so he's had more chances to have mistakes. I think he knows our feelings on it. Mike Jenkins might want out of Dallas, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has no intention of granting the cornerback's wish. The Cowboys gave Brandon Carr $50.1 million over the next five years to leave the Chiefs and then traded up to nab LSU's Morris Claiborne with the No. 6 overall pick in last month's NFL Draft. And with veteran Orlando Scandrick already an accomplished nickelback, Jenkins would like an opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere. The Colts have reportedly shown interest, but Jones indicated Jenkins might as well keep his suitcase in the attic. \"There's nothing that I can conceive that would help us more as a football team and help us accomplish where we're going to be next year than having Jenkins on the team,\" Jones told reporters Wednesday. \"I'm sure not interested in anything in the future. I'm all about what we can do (this) year.\" Jenkins has skipped the team's voluntary offseason program, and is due to earn $1.05 million in the final year of the rookie contract he signed as a first-round pick in 2007. \"He can come in here and maybe be a part of something very special, a concept that's very special when you have that kind of talent, that kind of size in corners,\" Jones said. \"He could have a year that could put him in great shape for his future and certainly have done what he was contracted and what he's paid to do and what he should be doing, and that's help the Dallas Cowboys win a world championship.\" Jenkins also underwent offseason shoulder surgery. He played through pain much of last season after suffering a dislocation. \"We want Mike Jenkins around our football team, just like we want everybody around our football team,\" coach Jason Garrett said last week. \"We had 60 guys on our roster for most of the offseason, and we had 59 at the facility working out involved in our offseason program. We have 90 guys on our team now, and we pretty much had 89 guys around here doing everything we wanted them to do. Brian Banks might still just get his chance to play for Pete Carroll. Banks was invited to work out for the Seahawks on June 7. Carroll recruited Banks, a highly ranked high school player in California who intended to play for Southern Cal before pleaded no contest to a rape charge. Banks spent more than five years in prison; he was accused of rape in 2002 after he'd been offered a scholarship to USC. Recently the high school acquaintance who brought the original charges confessed the sexual encounter was consensual, reaching out to Banks and admitting she felt overwhelmed by guilt. \"I'll make 'em happy,\" said Banks of what to expect at his first NFL workout. \"After all I've been through these last 10 years, I can still do some things that will impress you.\" Banks has been offered a job by the Arizona Diamondbacks but said he's in the best shape of his life. The Chiefs, Redskins and Dolphins are reportedly also interested in taking a look at Banks. The 6-4, 240-pound linebacker said he anticipates running the 40 in the 4.6 to 4.7 range. \"I feel confident that any team that gave me an opportunity would see I can play football,\" Banks said. \"But this (overtuned case) had to come first. There is no football without freedom.\" Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens was released by the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League on Tuesday for failing to appear at a charity event, according to the Wranglers' website. \"The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for Mr. Owens was his no-show to a scheduled appearance at a local children's hospital with other Wrangler players and coaches,\" team president and co-owner Tommy Benizio said in a statement on the team's website. \"It is not the desire of the Allen Wranglers' organization to disappoint fans by having our most notable player miss a scheduled appearance.\" Team owner Jon Frankel said in a statement, \"Our fans are amongst the best in the league and it is impossible to maintain a player when even our fans notice and comment on a player's lack of effort both on and off the field. We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community.\" The release also stated that Owens \"recently made it clear that he had no intentions of playing in the team's upcoming crucial away games in Nebraska and Everett.\" Owens has been trying to get back into the NFL, and he had joined the Wranglers in February with a deal that included a piece of ownership of the franchise. But, according to the team's statement, Owens \"will no longer participate as team owner.\" Owens, 38, last played in the NFL in 2010, when he had 72 receptions for the Cincinnati Bengals. 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