I achieved my goal:took the light rail into town and saw the Mary Tyler Moore statue! I even explored a bit of the downtown Skyway system. Definitely a way to not freeze in the winter!
Returning to airport was efficient; my next flight was delayed a half-hour but I stuck to my schedule to avoid surprises. A Metro Transit police officer checked everyone's tickets south of downtown. Everyone appeared to have one!
The Skyway Security check point is great if you only have carry on luggage. It is closer than the main entrance to the underground light rail station, and is reached by a series of escalators or elevators. I forgot a small water bottle saved from my first flight so had the embarrassment of TSA removing that.
Flight is still delayed until 1:34 but heading to gate soon.
Photos: light rail station and train, Mary Tyler Moore statue next to Macy's on Nicollet Mall.