The screen was shattered, although the iPad still worked. I replaced the screen because you could feel the edges of the shattered glass as you moved your fingers across the screen.
The repair is more difficult than described, and I actually pull laptops apart a lot. The suction cup wouldn't hold probably due to the glass being shattered--the slits allowed air under the suction cup. And even though I knew the glue softened with the iOpener, it wasn't enough to pry the glass up, so I had to use my heat gun. Once I applied it to the glue, I was able to work the large guitar pick shaped shims between the frame and then under the glass fairly easily.
I was surprised to find that I needed to then transfer the awake/sleep sensor, along with the various components of the home key from the old screen/digitizer over to the new iFixit replacement--that was the "tricky" part. iFixit has step-by-step procedures for doing these transfers, however, I would have preferred simply buying them new. Why? Because I didn't have all of the correct glue etc to anneal these various very small parts: I had to use double-sided sticky tape, and I'm not certain how long that will hold. Every iPad Mini 4 has the thumb scanner etc, so it would seem logical to assume a person needing to replace their screen would want these items transferred... I now see iFixit says the home button is not included, but I wasn't "enlightened" as to what that truly meant until I changed the screen. I KNOW now.