Prior to today, my D7000 has been used with a 50mm f1.8 and some old manual glass.
I mostly use "A" aperture mode with my D7000 because I am old school in my technique. I like to have an idea of depth of field, etc........ rather than letting the camera "guess" when I am making a "photograph".
For "snap shots" where I just want the camera to grab a picture of something, I use the AUTO and P modes, less thinking needed, I get good enough results
So, today I ordered a 18-200 VR because of the sale. I have never used a VR lens before.
If I set the camera to AUTO or P mode, does the camera account for the 4 stops of VR assistance, or does the D7000 treat the lens like a non-VR?
Am I still going to have to use "A" mode to get the most out of the new lens, or is the D7000 smarter than that?
If I turn off the VR, will the D7000 use a different set of parameters to formulate a picture?
The VR effect reduces vibration, it does not affect the amount of light entering the lens. The exposure modes base their choice of settings only on the light entering through the lens So F5.6 is still f5.6 and 1/125 sec is still 1/125. it is just the vibration that is reduced to a level equivalent to using much faster shutter speed.
This means you can take chances in low light and shoot handheld without getting blurred images at much slower shutter speeds than with a nonVR lens - but it is not a magic bullet. it will not compensate for subject movement, only camera shake and the claimed "up to 4 stops" is actually more like 1 or 2 stops in practical use.
If you want to use a slower shutter speed than the Auto or P mode suggests in any given situation, then more light will come in and you will have to make the aperture smaller to compensate.
As far as exposure settings go, the camera completely ignores whether VR is selected or not in ALL modes. VR does not affect exposure. VR only reduces camera shake caused by the user. It will allow reduced blur in poor light when the lack of light forces slower shutter speeds than may be prudent for the focal length that you are using.
i.e. normally we use the inverse rule. 1/200 sec or faster shutter speed for a 200mm lens and so on. when light is poor and your aperture is already wide open and the exposure meter says you need a shutter speed slower than 1/200 to get a good exposure then you will get blur and normally will stop shooting or use a tripod. With VR you can carry on shooting handheld in this situation, within reason.
I have had perfectly good shots of static subjects with a VR zoom lens set to 50mm while using shutter speeds of 1/15 sec.
Your lens will work fine in any mode. I own a D300s and D2x and use your lens with VR turned on all the time. I have muscular dystrophy so VR is not an option for me, it's a necessity. Like you I mostly use A or M but when out with the family it often sees P so the camera can be shared. BTW, you bought a fantastic lens. I've owned mine since it was released, got the first one that arrived at my favorite camera store.