Active magnetic bearings (AMBs) have been utilized widely to support high-speed rotors. However, in the case of AMB failure, emergencies, or overload conditions, the auxiliary bearing is chosen as the backup protector to provide mechanical supports and displacement constraints for the rotor. With lack of support, the auxiliary bearing will catch the dropping rotor. Accordingly, high contact forces and corresponding thermal generation due to mechanical rub are applied on the dynamic contact area. Rapid deterioration may be brought about by excessive dynamic and thermal shocks. Therefore, the auxiliary bearing must be sufficiently robust to guarantee the safety of the AMB system. Many approaches have been put forward in the literature to estimate the rotor dynamic motion, nonetheless most of them focus on the horizontal rotor drop and few consider the inclination around the horizontal plane for the vertical rotor. The main purpose of this paper is to predict the rotor dynamic behavior accurately for the vertical rotor drop case. A detailed model for the vertical rotor drop process with consideration of the rotating inclination around x- and y-axes is proposed in this paper. Additionally, rolling and sliding friction are distinguished in the simulation scenario. This model has been applied to estimate the rotor drop process in a helium circulator system equipped with AMBs for the 10 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10). The HTR-10 has been designed and researched by the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology (INET) of Tsinghua University. The auxiliary bearing is utilized to support the rotor in the helium circulator. The validity of this model is verified by the results obtained in this paper as well. This paper also provides suggestions for the further improvement of auxiliary bearing design and engineering application.