To Stan: The sharpening default in standard picture control is 4, and the reviewer indicated it was increased one notch to 5.
To Jason: The reviewer indicated that the shots were taken on tripod, with self timer and exposure delay.
To Dave: There are some ways how a camera can affect sharpness: mirror slap vibration, AA filter (as you said), diffraction (increased by high pixel density).
All this said, I did not take the sharpness complaint too seriously, I'm sure the camera will make plenty sharp images under the right conditions. These conditions may simply be more limited than with other cameras. I.e. Lloyd Chambers writes that with the D7000 pixel density, diffraction would start to show at f/5.6, earlier than D90/D300 and much earlier than D700 with it's low pixel density. Also, it may require better lenses, better technique, faster shutter speeds etc to bring out all the benefits of the 16MP sensor.
As for the AF performance: The outer AF sensors aren't as important to me, but another photographer had tried the D7000 for flying birds and reported that the AF speed was closer to the D90 than to the D300/D700. This should be no surprise of course. But many of us were hoping it would be closer to the pro bodies, given that the D7000 has some features that used to be reserved to the high end bodies, like metering with AIS lenses, AF fine tune etc.