In 2017, the Vikings alternated wins and losses over the first quarter of the season to find themselves with a 2-2 record.
Minnesota then ripped off 11 wins in 12 games to finish with a 13-3 record and an NFC North title before falling to Philadelphia in the NFC title game.
Now a quarter of the way through the 2018 season, the Vikings will see those same Eagles on Sunday as Minnesota faced another crossroads in a season.
Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune recently wrote that although the Vikings haven't gotten off to the start they wanted, the team can draw from lessons in 2017 to still have a productive season — starting with a win Sunday in Philadelphia.
A Week 5 victory over the defending Super Bowl champions wouldn't avenge the NFC title game loss, but its benefits would be clear: The Vikings, with one NFC win to their credit this season, can turn things around quickly in a conference where only three teams started the year 3-1 or better.
Goessling pointed out that the Vikings will play three of four games at U.S. Bank Stadium after this game Philadelphia, starting with an 0-4 Arizona team and followed by a road game at the Jets (1-3).
A victory Sunday might be about catharsis for their fans, but for the Vikings, it's a chance to stop a three-game winless streak against an opponent that also hasn't been in contending form.
In other words, they could jump-start their 2018 season in the building where the 2017 season ended. It's enough to put a sharp sense of focus into the Vikings' preparation for a game that's pivotal for reasons far beyond story lines.
"It should be the mentality for everybody in the locker room," [Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon] Richardson said. "But once again, those are only words. We've got to go out and do it."
Philadelphia, the defending Super Bowl champions, sit at 2-2 on the season.
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Eagles.
Murray ready for hostile environment in Philly
Latavius Murray is ready for an unwelcoming atmosphere in Philadelphia.
The Vikings running back told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press on Monday that he enjoys going on the road and getting the chance to quiet opposing crowds.
Philadelphia is known for its hostile fans. That's fine with Vikings running back Latavius Murray.
The Vikings play Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Never mind that their last trip there, a 38-7 loss to the Eagles in last January's NFC championship game, didn't go well.
"I love it," Murray said Monday. "I don't want to say I love playing away more than home, but to me there's no better feeling than everybody's against you and cheering against you and wanting to see you fail."
Minnesota is 0-1-1 on the road in 2018, earning a tie with the Packers before losing to the Rams last Thursday in Los Angeles.