When the Minnesota Vikings take the field in Philadelphia on Sunday for the NFC Championship Game, they'll be playing the NFL's closest representation of ... the Minnesota Vikings.

In truth, maybe it's the Philadelphia Eagles who deserve the most recognition in advance of this weekend's conference title clash. The NFC's No. 1 seed, they're coming off an inspiring slug fest against last season's Super Bowl runner-up and, contrary to Vegas' opinions, should probably be favored to advance all the way to Minneapolis.

Whether you fancy the underdog Eagles or the miraculous Vikings doesn't change the one sure thing entering Sunday's title bout: These two teams are remarkably similar.

Start at the top, with the most painful connection, and it's easy to see that neither the Birds nor the Vikes are strangers to postseason heartbreak. Remnants of Minnesota's 1970s fan base might still be recovering from a string of four Super Bowl losses in a span of eight years, and the Vikings have won just three road playoff games since they began playing in a dome in 1982. The Eagles, meanwhile, are less than a decade removed from their last NFC Championship Game misstep, haven't won a league title since 1960 and lost three straight conference title games from 2001-2003.

If anyone knows what it's like to expect the worst, it's Eagles and Vikings fans.

On the flip side, there aren't any franchises with more battle-tested spirit than these two teams in 2017.

Any high hopes for the Vikings during preseason revolved around quarterback Sam Bradford's step forward alongside rookie play-maker Dalvin Cook, but coach Mike Zimmer and Co. proceeded to win 13 games, waltz their way to an NFC North title and tout maybe the league's most balanced attack mostly without both of those guys. In Philadelphia, the Eagles followed a similar script, enduring season-ending injuries to left tackle Jason Peters, running back Darren Sproles, linebacker Jordan Hicks and, later, MVP-caliber quarterback Carson Wentz en route to an NFC East crown and a defensive showcase that carried them past the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.

Speaking of defense, both teams are built for the playoffs thanks to their work against opposing offenses.

Minnesota's "D," always vaunted under Zimmer, clocks in as the NFL's best. But the Eagles aren't far behind under Jim Schwartz, and in front of their roaring hometown crowd, there's a case to be made for them as the most feared unit left in the postseason. Outside of the Eagles and Vikings, no teams better slowed the running game, and between the two sides, five different players earned Pro Bowl recognition for their efforts this season.

And while defense serves as the ultimate strength for both Minnesota and Philadelphia, it's the quarterback position that has these NFC Championship Game foes just as joined at the hip.

Forget the past, which saw Eagles greats like Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb move on to the Midwest. The current teams alone have one heck of a connection at the game's most important spot. As our own Will Brinson elaborately recalled, almost every Eagles and Vikings QB of note has ties to the other side: Minnesota's Case Keenum, who has starred in place of the injured Bradford, once replaced current Eagles starter Nick Foles, who's filling in for Wentz, while playing for the then-St. Louis Rams; and Bradford, who began his career with the Rams, succeeded Foles in Philadelphia after the Eagles acquired him in 2015, joining the Vikings via trade after Wentz's arrival in 2016.

The man behind the Vikings' quarterback room? That's offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who began his NFL coaching career in 1999 with -- wait for it -- the Eagles, the same team with which he spent a total of 13 years.

As the quarterbacks go, so, too, have the locker rooms of the Eagles and Vikings.

Bradford's reserved leadership was documented before the 2017 season, and Keenum had no qualms about touting humility immediately after his team's "Minnesota Miracle" against the New Orleans Saints. Wentz, meanwhile, all but spearheaded the nationally recognized unity of Philadelphia this season, paving the way for Foles, another locally revered character, to assume the reigns of a season that exceeded expectations. Through the highs and the rare lows, those quarterbacks and, collectively, both the Eagles and Vikings have been lauded not only for their big marks in the "W" column but for their resiliency and togetherness as a group.

Now, they'll square off in a game with the highest stakes of the season, especially considering a Vikings win would guarantee that Zimmer's squad gets to become the first team in NFL history to host its own Super Bowl appearance. Accomplishing that, of course, would require overcoming the Eagles on Philadelphia's own turf.

But this season, with these teams, whose turf really is it anyway?