I bought my 70-300 VR in 2007 and have used it extensively with my D200 and D700, mostly for shooting daylight sports events like rugby, football, softball, and track meets. In better lit gyms I have even used it successfully to shoot volleyball and basketball games. It has also proven its worth in photographing events like jazz festivals and other musical productions. I consider it one of the best bang-for-the-buck lenses in the entire Nikon arsenal.
I also have an 80-200 f/2.8 which is a fine performer in its own right, but when weight and/or reach are important factors I go with the 70-300 VR. I have read reports about the supposed softness of this lens at the long end, but I have no hesitancy in using it zoomed all the way out to 300 mm.