The 24-70 Nikkor was my first serious lens. No VR. Personally, I don't miss it at all. Shooting kids running around will need faster shutter action anyway and VR is no help at all with moving subjects. I use the 24-70 as my walk around lens. My opinion, and that is all it is, is that for that range, VR is not needed. It can occasionally be counterproductive too, but you can always turn it off.
Bottom line, Vr is not a deal maker or breaker for the 24-70!