The Cowboys have played 16 preseason games since they drafted Morris Claiborne in the first round in 2012. He played in the third of his career Saturday.
It marked Claiborne’s first action since Week 4 last season when he tore the patellar tendon in his left knee against the New Orleans Saints. Claiborne played 32 defensive snaps and three on special teams against the Vikings.
“It felt real good,” Claiborne said. “It felt good to be out there with my teammates, to be out there running around. I’ve been waiting on this moment for a long time, and it’s finally here. All I can do is just thank God for it.”
In the second quarter, Claiborne was called for an 11-yard pass interference penalty on Adam Thielen. But he got one back on the next series, with Thielen called for offensive pass interference to keep Claiborne from intercepting Shaun Hill’s pass.
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“I felt like I would have had that,” Claiborne said. “Once I saw the flag, I knew it couldn’t be on me, because I didn’t touch anybody. I was just running with my head around. He got the pass interference for it.”
The game against the Vikings marked the Cowboys’ first without Orlando Scandrick, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Claiborne started at right corner, and Tyler Patmon started in the slot.
“It’s going to be tough all year without Orlando,” said starting corner Brandon Carr, who made his preseason debut after breaking a bone in his right hand early in camp. “Those are big shoes to fill. He made a lot of plays for us on that back end and just his awareness helped us as a secondary as a whole throughout the season, and we’re going to definitely miss out on his play-making ability and his presence back there on the back end. But you know we had to flip over to the next-man-up mentality. We have a young guy in Tyler Patmon who’s been learning underneath Scandrick for two years now, and we feel like he’s ready to go and we’re just going to help him out as much as we can.”
Patmon played 23 snaps on defense.