More than 52 million viewers tuned in to Fox's telecast of the Minnesota Vikings/New Orleans Saints NFC championship game Sunday night, producing a 27.6 rating and a 41 share in preliminary overnight ratings. The telecast got off to a spectacular start in the 7 00 p.m. half-hour with 55.25 million people tuning in. By contrast, just 3.9 million viewers watched NBC's coverage of the U.S. figure skating championships at 10 00 p.m. (following the game) -- a figure that no doubt sent shivers up the backs of NBC executives, who have already acknowledged that they are likely to lose more than $200 million on their upcoming Winter Olympics coverage and could lose untold millions more if their ratings guarantees to advertisers are not met. Figure skating is widely regarded as the most popular event at the Olympics, but it fell far behind reruns of CSI Miami on CBS (7.1 million viewers) and Desperate Housewives on ABC (4.2 million viewers).