TAMPA — The Bucs are dealing with injuries and illness as they prepare for their first road game of the season, at the Vikings on Sunday.
DT Gerald McCoy (ankle) was back at practice Thursday with limited participation, but the rest of the injury report was unchanged. LB Kwon Alexander missed a second straight day with the hamstring injury that sidelined him early in Sunday's opener against the Bears. He said he'd able to play against the Vikings.
Two ill players — DT Chris Baker and DE Jacquies Smith — missed a second day of practice. Coach Dirk Koetter said, "We are talking about influenza officially diagnosed (and) contagious, so guys, when they have it, they've got to stay out of the building."
Baker started at defensive tackle in Sunday's win. Smith was inactive as he recovers from knee surgery.
The Bucs had two players sidelined with illness last week, and both — Alexander and OL Evan Smith — played against the Bears.
CB Brent Grimes is listed as being limited by a shoulder injury but should be able to play Sunday.
For much of DB Josh Robinson's (right) four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement about the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season after Robinson signed with the Bucs.
"I knew I would miss out on opening that new stadium," said Robinson, 26, who established himself as a special-teams leader last year with 12 tackles on coverage units and is now a special-teams captain after re-signing in the offseason. "I'm excited to go back there and compete against those guys."
The Vikings player with whom Robinson has kept in closest contact is a one he'll be going after Sunday: punt returner Marcus Sherels. But he also is still close with much of the Minnesota secondary, having played more as a defensive back than on special teams with the Vikings.
"It's exciting just because I spent some time there," Robinson said. "Excited to go back and play against guys I competed against a lot in training camps. I'm looking forward to it."
Helping on teams
As special-teams captain, Josh Robinson was pleased to see strong play on the coverage units against the Bears, most notably Ryan Smith forcing a fumble on an ill-advised punt return by Bears rookie Tarik Cohen that was recovered by Cameron Lynch. Rookie Justin Evans also made a key tackle on kickoff return. "I think they looked good," Robinson said. "Ryan's not a rookie anymore, but he does a good job making plays on special teams. Justin, we knew he was going to be an instant playmaker, a guy who can run and likes to tackle, so you knew he'd contribute."
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.