After the first two weeks of the NFL season, when the 49ers put together two of the more impressive performances in the league, San Francisco had risen to the top of the list in most NFL Power Rankings. After the shocking result against the Vikings, they've lost some respect from the nation's top pro football pundits.
Joel Thorman, of SB Nation, dropped the Niners from the top spot to No. 4 in his Week 4 NFL Power Rankings, and he still thinks they belong with the league's elite:
4. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 1, 2-1): Last week's No. 1 goes down in an upset to the Vikings. Don't worry, 49ers fans. You're still one of the NFL's best teams. That defense will keep you in most games.
ESPN also dropped the 49ers to the fourth spot, and the same goes for Brian Billick at Fox Sports. Yahoo sports slots San Francisco in at No. 6, saying the 49ers might have bought into the hype after a 2-0 start:
My best guess at explaining that loss is that the 49ers got overconfident and outworked on the road against a Vikings team that's better than it's perceived to be.
The Niners are still viewed as the top team in the NFC West by most rankings, but the Cardinals are getting respect after their 3-0 start, including a No. 1 ranking from Yahoo. It looks to be an exciting division race in 2012, with the Seahawks tied with the Niners at 2-1.
For more on the 49ers, check out 49ers blog Niners Nation, and stick SB Nation Bay Area.