San Fran kicked off 2012 topping two playoff teams with a smothering defense and a solid offense.
Sunday in Minnesota, they were a step behind the more physical Vikings all day, falling in stunning fashion to the Vikings 24-13.
The Vikings, led by QB Christian Ponder, did as they pleased all day vs the tough Niners D, outgaining the Niners 344-280.
Ponder was 21-for-35 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. He also was a force on the ground, rushing for 38 yards including a 23-yard score that gave Minnesota a 14-3 lead with 5:29 left in the first half.
The Niners got within 17-13 with 6:17 left in the third when Alex Smith hit Vernon Davis with a 1-yard touchdown.
It was the closest the Niners would get. The Vikings put the game away on a near 7 minute drive that covered 12 plays and 88 yards.
The back breaker score came when Ponder hit TE Kyle Rudolph with a 2-yard score to make it 24-13 with 14:17 left.
Alex Smith had a tough day, going 23-for-34 for 182 yards with a touchdown and a late pick that sealed it. The Niners ground game was led by Frank Gore, who had 63 yards on 12 carries.
Adrian Peterson had 86 yards on 25 carries in the win for Minnesota.