Telephoto: How bad is it to have a telelens without VR?

The general rule is that, for a lens other than vr, an average skill photographer can take a stable image at a shutter speed of 1 / {focal length}.

Therefore, with full zoom, 1/300 of a second shutter speed is the slowest you can go, unless your hands are unusually stable. Depending on the model year, the VR version of that lens compensates 4-4.5 stops of camera movement. Realistically, you're probably looking less at the full extent, but 1/60 should be possible for an average photographer.

Assuming you paid for the VR and the incorrect one was sent to you, return it. Otherwise, no, a VR lens is not strictly necessary, but for the type of shot you want to make, it has significant value.

You can also rummage through the used department of some of the larger camera suppliers, you can often find a late Nikkor 80-400 VR model in very good condition at the same price.