Wells Fargo's dual towers have risen dramatically at 550 and 600 Fourth Street South in downtown Minneapolis. The congregation of 5,000 workers in these two 17-story buildings will be the economic engine that invigorates the city's eastern corridor on a daily basis.
There is also a new domed stadium in that area, and on Sunday at noon, the first football game will be played: an exhibition between the Vikings and the cheapskate Chargers from San Diego.
The stadium certainly has a dramatic look with its pointy front aiming north. The big windows were open Friday morning, providing a breathtaking look at the walkways that customers will use to get to their licensed seats in the $1.15 billion football cathedral.
St. Paul has "The X" for hockey, and the University of Minnesota has "The Barn" for basketball and "The Bank" for football," and now "The Zygi" seems to be catching on as the nickname for the new dome.
And why not? All citizens of Minnesota are feeling pride in having provided Zygi Wilf, the New Jersey real estate mogul, with this opportunity for incredible enrichment after what he's provided us as the Vikings owner:
An 87-88-1 record in 11 regular seasons, with an additional 1-4 mark in playoff appearances.
The relationship between the Vikings and the current Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) is certainly much better (cozier?) than it was between the Vikings and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) in 1982.
Michele Kelm-Helgen, the chairwoman of the MSFA, has gushed with tribute every time the Vikings have bought a couple of big-screen TVs for this pointy structure. Don Poss, the executive director of the MSFC, had the Vikings so mad that they filed suit against the commission on Aug. 20, 1982, the day before the first football game in the Metrodome.
It was a Saturday night exhibition against the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings won 7-3, with Tommy Kramer throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Joe Senser late in the third quarter. Senser also blocked a pair of field-goal attempts.
Matt Blair and company would block kicks routinely at Met Stadium, often with opponents trying to get the ball airborne from a divot of dead grass or the dirt of a baseball infield. Senser managed his blocks with the Vikings playing their first home game on artificial turf ever, where there was no such thing as a bad lie for a placekicker.
That game was played with Ed Garvey and the NFL Players Association threatening to strike if Commissioner Pete Rozelle and the owners did not agree to give a 55 percent cut of revenues to the athletes.
The strike was called after the second week of the season. It lasted for seven games, before the players came back for a nine-game schedule and a 16-team playoff.
The Seahawks and the Vikings met at midfield and shook hands in a show of unity before the first game at the Metrodome.
Three months later, the unified players caved as they always have against the NFL, settling for a one-time payment of $60 million and some enhanced benefits to return to work.
The topic for the 57,880 fans in attendance (there were also 3,284 official no-shows) was not the grandeur of the big blue room. It was not the possibility of a strike-shortened season. It was not the Vikings' feeble offensive display.
It was the heat.
I had met my bride earlier that summer. As a favor, I got her a couple of tickets for the first football game in the Metrodome. She's still mad at me.
That August night in the Metrodome came up in conversation this week. "All I remember is everyone suffocating," she said.
It was the first "Wave" in that dome — not for a unified cheer, not with Homer Hankies, but everyone in the place waving a hand, a program, anything that might help, in front of their faces to create a small breeze.
Don Poss had been so determined to keep the price tag under the budgeted $55 million that the Metrodome opened without air conditioning. The Poss posse went so far as to espouse the theory that with much of the Dome below street grade, it would be naturally cooled.
The Vikings' main complaint in the suit against the commission for providing an "unfinished stadium" was that lack of air conditioning.
Considering it was 89 degrees with a moderate humidity on their opening night, and 15 people were treated for heat exhaustion, and 60 percent of the overheated crowd was gone by the time the Vikings finally scored — well, that pretty well proved the Vikings' case on air conditioning.
The air conditioning was installed during the winter and was ready for the 1983 baseball opener. Much needed though it was, a functional cooling system did ruin a fine nickname: