I responded to a post asking for something like this on the VMWare forums earlier today.
Here's the general idea:
Make your VM using VMWare Server or Workstation [or manually editing config]
Use a *changable* linux boot-disk OS or BartPE (be these on usb key or cdrom or whathaveyou), adding VMWare Player and your VM, create a batch file or shell script to launch VMWare player with your VM, and make it run on startup completion.
Burn changes to disc or copy to disk and make bootable. You can also include the version of vmware player for windows preinstalled in a directory on the disk if you use linux, enabling you to just launch the player if you have a windows box and don't want to reboot it.