Recent experiments found that a hot solid sphere that is able to sustain a stable Leidenfrost vapor layer in a liquid exhibits significant drag reduction during free fall. The variation of the drag coefficient with Reynolds number deviates substantially from the characteristic drag crisis behavior at high Reynolds numbers. Measurements based on liquids of different viscosities show that the onset of the drag crisis depends on the viscosity ratio of the vapor to the liquid. Here we attempt to characterize the complexity of the Leidenfrost vapor layer with respect to its variable thickness and possible vapor circulation within, in terms of the Navier slip model that is defined by a slip length. Such a model can facilitate tangential flow and thereby alter the behavior of the boundary layer. Direct numerical and large eddy simulations of flow past a sphere at moderate to high Reynolds numbers (102≤Re≤4×104) are employed to quantify comparisons with experimental results, including the drag coefficient and the form of the downstream wake on the sphere. This provides a simple one parameter characterization of the drag reduction phenomenon due to a stable vapor layer that envelops a solid body.