MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This time next year, the Minnesota Vikings will be playing their first game in the new U.S. Bank Stadium. Crews hit a milestone Thursday in the construction effort.

The Vikings celebrated the “topping out” of the building, marking the point when the highest or last steel beam is put into place.

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Twenty-one months in and little has slowed the construction on the new Vikings Stadium.

“It is exciting to be a part of this project,” Ewa Effiun, a construction worker on the Vikings stadium, said.

But on Thursday, about 1,500 workers took a break to mark a milestone.

“It’s special because it’s awesome.  Just got here two years ago and I’m honored to be part of this.  It’s amazing,” Effiun said.

Ewa Effiun is one of the 4,000 helping to build U.S. Bank Stadium.  For weeks, he’s worked on the plumbing and on Thursday he and others left behind another contribution. Thousands of crew members signed and left notes of support for the Vikings on one of the final roof beams.

“We’re here today to complete the topping out ceremony,” John Wood, senior vice president of Mortenson Construction, said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

This celebration of progress is a construction tradition and fitting for a team with ties to Nordic culture.

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“The tradition of ‘topping out’ actually started in Scandinavia,’ Wood said.

Despite this benchmark in the building process, the work is far from over.  Crews won’t have the stadium enclosed until mid-November and only a fraction of the 65,000 seats are in place.

“There’s going to be no other building like this in the country or the world,” Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, said.

With 10 months until the completion date, this shell of a stadium is still giving a glimpse into the team’s future.

“This kind of moment, you take it in and say this dream is becoming a reality, and we’re excited for the people coming here for many years,” Mark Wilf, president and owner of the Minnesota Vikings, said.

And as crews continue with the work, the emphasis is on safety.  Lightning delayed the raising of that beam Thursday morning. Just three weeks ago, an accident killed one worker and injured another.

“We’ve got enough time to build this project safely,” Wood said.

While construction is on time, it’s more expensive than the initial cost of $975 million. The total now is $1.08 billion.  The Wilf’s are covering the difference.

The final roof beam will be put into place on Friday with weather cancelling Thursday’s plans.

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The Vikings do not play until Sunday, but you can get your football fix tonight (Thursday) on WCCO.