These lenses certainly would act as great alternatives to the more expensive 70-200 f/2.8 VR II, which has a retail price that nearly doubles even the 70-200 VR.
I would preferably stick to the newer 70-200 VR AF-S, as it offers faster, quieter focusing and VR (which really comes in handy when you don't have a tri-pod with you). I also prefer the zoom ring over the push-pull design, but that's just a personal preference.
You could also take a look at the 80-200 f/2.8 AF-S, which although it doesn't have VR it gives you most of the features of the newer 70-200 VR. One main advantage that I enjoy on the AF-S models is the manual focus override, which is extremely convenient.
Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories
"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams